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#people who growl and hiss at others >>>>> everyone else. no sarcasm
bakunobakuyes · a month ago
I’m not going anywhere || Bakugou Katsuki
this is long, srry.
WARNINGS: smut, softdom bakugo, cursing, alcohol, verbal abuse
It’s not an empty floor you’d step into. Well, it's not supposed to be empty - third year students occupying the rdorms were downstairs, mingling, enjoying a small party. It's almost forgotten when you hear the thud against the thin wall,  coming for a room on the far left corner. The small hiss and growl of a “yes” and a “fuck” is something that seems to be filling the room. 
The smell of vanilla lingers in his room, engraving itself on his shirt. It's her fault. That goddamn shampoo and perfume she wears. That goddamn smell is too familiar to the aspiring hero. Even the smell of the vodka they had consumed seemed to be overpowered by the heavenly scent. 
The vanilla smell is clean-cutting compared to the smell of burnt caramel that stung her nostrils when she was close enough to him. It's not the sting that makes her stomach crunch in disgust. that was what made it weird. Self-control just did wonders for this girl. 
Self-control wasn't important now. That was evident as she dragged her fingernails down his back, drawing blood from the red marks that followed. It's rough; he likes it. You know how she can tell? There was no sickening sneer or taunting smirk when he let out a small gasp, teeth coming to clamp onto the skin on her shoulder. It takes almost everything in her not to give in when he shivers. 
They weren't supposed to be like this. How did they even end up like this? She's not supposed to want this. But she wants this. She wants the way his fingernails dig into the soft skin of her thighs, holding her up. She wants the groans he gives; the wet, sloppy kisses he gives on her neck, collarbone and any other place he thinks of.
There's a voice in the back of her head, whispering, "Wicked little girls like you grow up to be witchy women." every time she touches him. Like an old ghost, whispering in her ear. That same voice whispers that she is un-submitted and lustful as Jezebel, the Bible's famous wḣore. A male voice she knows all too well. She's been rebelling from that voice she had begun to walk. That voice tells her she was marked by sin; no matter how hard she scrubs every morning she will never be clean of it. 
She wants the feeling of her back hitting the wall behind her with every thrust - feeling him fill inside her. The thought itself was painfully terrific and made her want nothing more than just /this/. She wants to feel his lips against her skin; she wants the noises he makes with each thrust he gives her - feeling him pull out almost slowly and tortuously before slamming back into her. She wants the feeling of his ash blonde hair when she would fist it.
Their clothes are still on; both much too eager to remove articles. It's the only thing keeping them from really bruising each other with kisses, gripping, biting - anything you could think of when you have sex. The black skirt was shoved to wrap around her hips, underwear hanging around her ankle. The back of his shirt have a few traces of blood. No thanks to the girl between him and the damned wall of his bedroom. 
It's her voice drawling out, "Harder, fuck you, harder." as he pulls out tortuously slow before slamming back into her, going back to his fast, angry pace.  He shouldn't be too surprised. He still remembers the bruises on her neck made by teeth that he had seen one day at school. Teeth that aren’t his. Just the thought triggers an almost barbaric response, craving to make her his own.
It's her voice that told him as soon as they were done with this round, she was going to ride him so hard. It's her voice that is saying his name, causing flips from his stomach as that single word spilt through her lips.  
Oh God, shit, fuck - it was being slurred out. It just wasn't the girl saying it; it was the blonde dragging out the words. She's not the girl who makes guys say that. She's the girl who goes to guys so she can slur out those words. These feelings were indescribable, and she wishes there was a word to describe what she was feeling - describe what she hoped he was feeling. There wasn't.
There wasn't a word that could describe /them/. Both terrible with words; you could only imagine how easily that stopped them from expressing their feelings to each other. It's the only thing that stood in the way. They both know that. 
Soon enough they were on the bed, a second round in the process. 
She's the girl who watched. She watched everything go by without saying a damn thing. She's the girl whose father demanded that she would leave his home and move into the dorms, finding the long letters he had stuffed in her bag before she had left only saying, "God will eventually forgive her for her sins." She's the girl who kept her vulnerability secret. She's the girl who didn’t need anyone. She's the girl who enrolled in the hero course purely out of spite.
Only asking for one thing and one thing only - to never fall in love and ever endure a broken heart. It was a ridiculous want and maybe too cliche. But wanting this boy was ridiculous. He's not meant for her. He's too good - too powerful - for a girl like her. He simply wanted what all men wanted. No matter how many times he would tell her he wasn’t trying to be a friend to her she would never believe him. Not as long as he said it with that goddamn smug expression on his face. 
It was a fucking joke. Them fucking was a joke. They weren't meant to want each other. 
But they want. 
It's a feeling that seems to possess every inch of their bodies and minds; keeping them overwhelmed when near each other. You'd have to be insane to think it's mainly sexual. It's not mainly sexual when she wants to simply spend time with him. It's not mainly sexual when he breaks all the rules he  sets for herself for her. This isn't a mainly sexual relationship, but neither of them will say it. Regardless if this is the first time he's between her thighs, making her slur his name. 
That goddamn voice. It haunts his thoughts; leaving him to hear it everywhere. Regardless if she is present or not. He wonders why it's quiet when everything she said was laced with sarcasm, and unseen sadness seeping into every word. Goddamn it. She doesn't trust him enough to even admit that there's something between them. He doesn't have the ability to open his mouth to say something that wasn’t laced with faux hostility that hid his aching vulnerability.
He should be fucking someone else, but he still chooses her out of all people. he shouldn't even be interested in her, but he is. Why? She wouldn't ever know. She doesn't understand him. He shouldn't be fucking her, goddamn it! She shouldn't be the girl he crawls on top of, creating a fast-paced rhythm as he hoists her legs around his waist. The sound of the headboard hitting the wall, stroking his ego. 
She sees it, and it makes her wonder if he had genuine feelings for her. She'd be a silly, little girl if she thought he didn't. You bet your ass she's that silly, little girl. The girl with striking eyes doesn't believe she is worthy of love, for she had grown up with that being forced into her head. Her brothers even suffering the same fate before her. They were all doomed from the start. 
Why would she drag him into this fiery pit of destruction? 
The clothes that had once stood in the way of them being completely intimate had been discarded quickly like a drunken stumble, the location meaning nothing to the two intoxicated teens acting upon their feelings rather than expressing it through words.
It's the feeling of ecstasy that overwhelms her when he sits back, pulling her into his lap. He's still buried inside her, his hand grasping her breast as the other grasped her hip to lead her. Her eyes close as she nuzzles her face in the crook of his neck, a moan expressing the feeling of pleasure she feels. His lips messily leave kisses among her collarbone and neck, wanting nothing more to make his mark. He wanted everyone to know that she was his. There's no being courteous and saving her from the possibility of covering up the hickeys. 
He's coming close to his peak, she feels his movements quicken. It makes her want more, so she whines for it. Her nails dig into his skin as he leads. His thumb is working against her cłit, working to get her to her own peak. He knows he's just driving her insane, and he loves it. She's made him work for this, and it feels good. He just won't say those words. Besides, he still has a reputation to protect. 
"I ca-can-" she sputters out, before giving a silent cry as she reaches her climax. Her teeth clamping down on the skin of the eighteen year old she was straddling.
He promised her an empty floor after escaping the party, both shit-faced. She doesn't care. Moaning loudly on a usually occupied floor like this? Her voice would carry and the thought of her voice carrying made her sick to her stomach. Well, she didn't trust the privacy he promised her. 
He cums shortly after her, riding his climax. He’s no longer able to control his aggression. His fingernails dug into her hips; his teeth clamping down onto the skin of her collarbone. There's a metallic taste stinging his taste buds; then he knows that he has drawn blood. He pulls away from the tiny master piece on his lap and stares at her for a moment or two. That's when he presses a kiss to her lips; a well-deserved kiss that hopefully sent all the overwhelming feelings he felt for this girl.     
The morning comes all too soon. The sun wasn't fully up, but she awaken by the light blue peaking through his closed curtains. Her head lifts from the pillow, seeing if he was still there. He was, but he wasn't facing her. His back was to her, lightly snoring. And, the realization that she fell asleep before she could get to her own room is a hard blow. 
This wasn't supposed to happen. They were past that, and she knew that. There was no way of avoiding it, but it doesn't mean she won't try running away from whatever it was she was feeling for him. That thought only reminds her of who she used to be before he obnoxiously and aggressively stepped into her life - she wasn't the one who ran away. She avoided conflict.
She felt like she was betraying herself when she got out of the bed. The feeling makes her stomach crunch in embarrassment. Shit. Why did she want to fucking stay? They weren't a couple; she shouldn't have even slept over! She crept around his room, dressing in the discarded clothes from the night before. The light snoring stops just as she is about to take her first step out of his room.
They both pretend he's still asleep. 
It's only how it starts
The second time he's ambushed in the bathroom during a class. It's empty, expect for the snarky girl who had shoved this crude bastard, locking the door behind them. To be safer, she puts her hands on his chest to push him into a stall. The both of them barely fit. He's a big guy; the breadth of his shoulders take up most of the confined space. Thank the Gods for the petite girl, because if it weren't for her, well, they probably wouldn't be doing what they're doing. 
It seems to be serious when she grabs his t-shirt, pulling him down to her eye-level, her mouth to his ear. "Next time you grab my ass when I'm talking to Cementoss while you're passing, I'll kick your ass." she threaten half-heartedly and haughtily into his ear. 
Even if she was being serious, he wouldn't have taken her seriously. Not when she's pressed up against him, already having her hand in his pants. 
He doesn't reply to her; all he does is scoff. It's short lived, because as soon as he begins it, her fingers wrap around his dick and stroking him steadily. A smug grin appears across her lips as he writhes, fumbling to stabilize himself along the slick surface of the stalls. It’s infuriating. He wants to mark her. He wants her to feel him - to know she's his. He mostly wants to wipe that smug look off of her face. He  bares his teeth and snaps at her mouth to her lower lip between them. 
He cums in her hand, his hands gripping her hips so tightly he's sure he's bruised her through that skirt. He presses his lips against hers tenderly after he finishes his release. It seems so unlike him that she questions it almost immediately. It makes her want to rip away from him, yell at him this isn't what she wanted from him. But, she figured this is who he really is: thumb to her cheek, lips on hers, a bit of a superhero, a bit of a bleeding heart. She wants to hate it, but she can't. 
So, she's gone. She leaves before he has the chance to say anything, shoving out of the stall. She leaves before he even has the chance to reciprocate 
The next few weeks seem to go smoothly between the two. They walk together, sit together; she doesn’t piss him off that much. He even once kicked the back of her knees when she wasn’t looking, swiftly catching the girl in his arms, though, she hits and curses him for it. It always made him laugh. There was nothing more entertaining than watching her flustered with heated cheeks. 
People notice their “friendship” - as far as they knew. Unsurprisingly, people have little hope for them. She doesn’t fit into his life - the life of someone climbing to the number one position. He shouldn’t waste his time for the undecided girl. It seems like she’s the only one who realizes that. He should want a girl who has a high chance of achieving the things he wants, not a probable hero course dropout like her brother. She’s not worth the trouble of being a distraction. 
They skip lunches, escaping to the rooftop They don’t seem to mind spending so much time with together anymore; they used to be hesitant to even go anywhere alone together as if their presences bothered each other.  Most of the time, it doesn’t. 
 Most of the time he just drags her to the stairwell and fucks her against the wall or the stairs,  breaking the skin of her elbows in little cuts. Sometimes they make it up to the rooftop, and have their way there. He fucks her with his fingers, wanting to tease her and make her feel the way she makes him feel when she uses her hands. He fucks her with his tongue, his dick twitching his pants every time he hears his name escape her mouth. Both his fingers and tongue tease. One licking up and down her torso, as the middle and index of his fingers circle around her cłit. They do this until she's whining for it. 
There's something about the way she holds a book, or just fucking sits there in that stupid desk. The way her eyes focus on whatever she may be doing, always crossing her legs. There's something about the way she runs the tip of her tongue over her lower lip to moisten it. There's only so much a man can take. 
There's only so much a man can take when some douche bag in class b approaches her, this smile on his face and hope in his eyes. She may look uninterested, but that is exactly how she looked when they first met and look at them now. Nevertheless, this guy must have been talking about something she was interested in because the douche bag got her to give this smile - the one he earns. It cuts the deepest, because he knows he can't do anything. She's not his. She doesn't belong to anyone, and it frustrates him. But that frustration subsides when she walks away from this douche bag, her braid exposing the hickies he’s given her. 
She’s his. 
There's a better chance of their clothes thrown across the room, with him tangled between her legs and her nails clawing into his back. This was one of the times where they were clothed. He was laying on his bed on his stomach, with her sitting on his butt and legs in a criss-cross position. A notebook by his shoulders with another beside them, her eyes shift between them, scribbling down notes. 
"Fuckin' Cementoss." she cursed their teacher, copying down the notes as his eyes flutter open and closed. She shakes her head, her eyes flickering up at the back of his blonde-haired head. 
He's almost asleep, but when he doesn’t move, he feels the thud of a notebook hitting the back of his head. "Motherfuc-" he stops shouting mid-sentence, reaching behind him with the one arm that wasn't supporting his head to nudge her a little. “What’s your fucking problem, you fucking brat?"
The remark earns nothing more than a roll of her eyes as she leans forward, hovering over him as she snatches the pillow he's using, “I’m no brat, you’re the brat. Next time you call me that, I’ll beat you to a pulp." He’s rubbing off on her. It only makes him grin into his arm
He wriggles around underneath her when she sits back on his ass, writing down something. She scoffs at him, placing her hands down on his bare-back. "I'm not going to sodomize you, Jesus." 
He snorts, "Just seems like the natural progression of things, you little brat.”
She rolls her eyes, tossing her things aside, bending her head and licks a stripe up his spine just to sink her teeth into the muscle at the base of his skull. He jerks underneath her, a loud curse is shouted. She looks down at him darkly, although he can't see. "Don't joke."
He opens his mouth to spit out a threat, but doesn’t say a thing, he's far too distracted by the way her fingers are gently messaging his scalp. He can't see, but she's studying the details of him. He's no secret to her. Sometimes she wishes that he knew that. She admires him; he didn't know that either. Soon he’s asleep, but she doesn’t mind.
A few days later she’s heading to her dorm. It's no surprise that she was with him. She has the red marks on her neck to prove it; the bruises on the soft skin of her thigh. She wasn't sure if this was what falling in love was. It frighten her that she had become this comfortable with a person before. It fucking scared her. She stops when she hears voices around the corner saying her name.
“Does she really think he actually likes her? It’s a little sad.” 
“Why would he be into someone who ranking so low?”
With that the Class B girls make their way down the hallway, leaving the girl speechless. She doesn’t say anything - it's not like she could anyway. How did they know? In school as far as anyone knew they were friends. Nothing more. Well, the people who assumed they were fucking were right, but nothing had ever been answered. They weren't romantically affection to each other in public - well, actually, he was hugged once. Other than that? Nothing. 
As she turned around and unlocked the door, she wiped some tears that escaped her eyes. Shit. She was crying? What was this? . As she packs an overnight bag with the intention of staying with her brother, she knows they are right. She didn't say anything to her brother once she goes through the front door, unannounced. She just walks past him, going straight to the guest bedroom room, slamming and locking the door, ignoring his voice. She exhaled, her lower lip quivering. 
He wasn't meant for her. No matter how much they enjoyed each other’s company or not. They were never going to end up together; no matter how much they tried. He was going to end up with someone who was worthy. Someone as smart as he was, ambitious. Their end was inevitable. Didn't mean it wouldn't hurt. She crawls into bed after getting rid of the clothing she's wearing.
It's almost an instinct when she pulls out her phone and dials his number. She's in bed, huddled against her pillow as the rings go on. 
“What do you want, little brat?” 
She didn't answer; she bites onto her lip, debating whether to say anything or just hang up. 
"You there, dumbass?” 
And, it's a final decision when she presses the end button to the call and closes her eyes.
He’s not meant for you anyway.
It's the little patter she hears that wakes her up hours later. She squeezes her eyes shut, expecting it to be her brother actually knocking on the door, but nothing comes. She realizes that it's coming from her window. The hell? She sits up, holding a hand to her forehead and sighs to herself. “It’ll stop” she thinks to herself as she lays back down. It's still going - the patter. Then she realizes what's going on. She rolls her eyes, getting out of bed. 
There he was in all his glory, standing there with pebbles in his hand, crimson eyes narrowed, face twisted in a scowl. 
"I am not your Juliet, jackass." she mutters before opening it to see the stupid teenager.  "Do you realize the time it is? Oh, and that we aren’t in a Nicholas Sparks melodrama? No? Well, you’re going to break curfew.”
Regardless of the time and how she feels, she lets him come inside after bickering. Though, her appearance isn't something he's ever seen before. A face clean of makeup, a over-sized sweater and sweats, her unruly hair up in a messy bun. She looks like a completely different person, but he says nothing. He steps into the apartment he's been to before. She ushers him to the bedroom, hoping that neither of them would wake up her brother. 
She closes the door behind her, crossing her arms over her chest. "What do you want?" she asks, watching him. 
“What’s with the attitude, dumbass?” he questions, glaring. 
"You need to leave." she told him honestly, "I don't think we should do this anymore - whatever we're doing." 
He looks at her with a bored expression now, “Another tantrum, brat?” he drawls out, but then she moves to unlock and open her door to kick him out. “Alright, idiot, relax.” he stands up and goes to her, one hand closing her door and the other hand going to her waist, but she shrugs him off. 
Now he knows she's being serious. This isn't couldn't be good. This was destruction waiting to happen; he should have seen this coming. She stares off at the wall, arms crossed over her chest insecurely. He knows that look anywhere. Her eyebrows are furrowed and there are little wrinkles on her forehead; her lower lip being clenched by teeth. What was going through her mind at this point? 
“I’m not kidding. This is boring. I’m over it.”
“No one gets bored of me.” He grunts,, hands now in his pockets. “Where’s this shit coming from?” his question leaves her questioning herself even more. 
"You're not going to stay," the girl finally tells him after minutes of silence, staring at him with empty eyes. 
It's not even a minute that goes by when he has his lips on hers, cupping her face, expecting her to throw him off and yell at him to get out; they were done - what "they" were. She defies logic; she kisses him back, mouth opening under the pressure of his tongue, hand sliding down to pull him in. It's him that's backing them up, searching for the bed, and eventually make contact, landing on top of her and kissing her neck. Pinned once again, she doesn't care anymore. She's too lost into the kiss to care. She wants his mouth on her, so she pulls him away from her and captures it with her own, tongue thrusting it and out, twining it with his. She's moan, knee pushing up through his thigh's, rubbing hard against his dick. He rocks down, breathes heavy through his nose. 
She's blanketed in his weight, his warmth, the miles of smooth skin hiding below his clothes. She knows this body. She knows what his bare chest feels like under the flat of her palm. She knows the strength of his arms when wrapped around her, lifting her from the ground. She knows how he can go from a weapon to a lover in a instant. She's not ready to say goodbye, but it's better now than later. But it's much harder when he has his hands up her sweater, familiarizing itself 
"No," she whispers, pulling back from his lips, shaking her head in the slightest. "No, Katsuki."
He cups her face, thumb caressing her cheek. "I'm not going anywhere, idiot.” he assures her.
“Oh my God, I am in a melodrama.”
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dramaticcollapse · 2 months ago
Royal Exiles - 5 - Stay of Execution
Previous | Masterlist
Taglist: @just-a-whumping-racoon-with-wifi, @legallylibra, @luminouswhump, @rippedjeansandfadeddreams, @justabitofwhump, @redstainedsocks. Big thanks to you and to everyone who reads, likes and reblogs this series, it’s a fantastic feeling knowing that people like what I create.
CW: Manhandling, dislocated shoulder, field medicine, claustrophobia, lab whump, noncon body modification, references to magical torture, mundane torture and death.
Despite Rowan’s convictions he did, somehow, manage to fall asleep during Nestor’s sigil-sewing. Nestor’s lack of response gave him little to work with as far as snarky quips went. The pain was minor and the sorcerer’s voice was quiet enough to be soothing, if Rowan ignored what he was actually saying. He didn’t have any bad dreams, or at least none he could remember later.
The thing that woke Rowan up was a sudden, sharp pressure on his right arm. Someone had untied it and was twisting it up and back, hard. He jolted awake with a grunt, tried to break loose but he had exactly no leverage. There was one hand on the back of his neck and one holding his arm up, twisting it up and back.
“What are y—” Rowan’s protest turned into a scream of pain as his shoulder popped out of the socket. The hands released him as he struggled to catch his breath. Rowan turned his head and through a haze of almost-tears saw a guard step back.
“Thank you,” Nestor said from somewhere overhead. “That’s exactly what I wanted.”
“What for?” Rowan growled, lowering his voice to keep it steady.
“I need to make sure the sigil works.”
The guard spoke up. “Is that all you need, sir?”
“I may need you again in a few minutes. Have a seat if you’d like.”
Rowan focused on his breathing. His dislocated arm throbbed steadily now, but it wasn’t the worst pain he’d ever felt. Wasn’t even the worst pain he’d felt today, he thought, but it was hard to recall one pain while experiencing another. His arm spasmed, stealing his breath for a moment. The only sound in the room was his ragged breathing.
Finally, Nestor sighed. “That’s what I get for trying to rush something this complicated. Oh well. I’m sorry for wasting your time—Aricus, was it?” The guard mumbled something like an agreement. “If you could just deliver the prisoner to his cell for me I’d very much appreciate it.”
“Finally,” Rowan said, trying not to sound too relieved. “I’ve been wanting to get a look around your dungeons. Do you have one big cell where you put everybody or do we all get our own little rooms?”
“What about the arm?” Aricus asked, which was the exact question Rowan wanted to ask but feared the answer to. Nestor had said earlier that he didn’t like unnecessary cruelty, but he had a funny idea of what qualified as necessary.
Nestor hesitated. “Well, if we leave it alone he’ll likely try to relocate it himself and he might cause nerve damage. I’ll take care of it. Your highness,” he addressed Rowan with no sarcasm apparent in his voice, “Once I untie you, turn over onto your back. I’m going to relocate your shoulder.”
Rowan felt the ropes go slack, one after the other, as Nestor worked his way around the table. He slid his good hand underneath himself and pushed up onto his forearm. He tried to support his bad arm against his body as he rolled onto his back, stifled a very unmanly whimper when Nestor lifted it away and held it out straight. The older man braced himself and began to pull. It was slow and steady and awful. Rowan didn’t want to scream again, not when he was ready for it, so he clenched his teeth and shut his eyes. His free hand scrabbled at the table and caught the edge, the knuckles turning white.
Then Rowan felt something clunk and the pain eased. He hissed out a long breath and opened his eyes. Nestor moved his arm around a little, apparently testing it out, and nodded. Moving it still hurt, and it felt alarmingly fragile, like it could slip back out at any second.
“You don’t expect me to thank you for that, right?” Rowan asked.
“No, not yet. Actually I should probably thank you, that was the most cooperative you’ve been since you got here. I’ll keep that in mind for the future,” Nestor said, smiling cheerfully down at Rowan. “Aricus, he’s all yours.”
Aricus came around the table as Rowan sat up. He had a set of shackles hanging from his belt, and now he pulled them out to snap them on Rowan’s wrists. He locked them with one of a set of keys of various sizes in one large ring, which Rowan noted was fastened to his belt by a short length of chain.  Then the guard jerked Rowan to his feet by his freshly relocated arm.
“Aah-ha!” Rowan almost turned the yelp of pain into a laugh. “You guys are finally learning! Guess I don’t get to break anyone else’s noses today. Unless that was yesterday. What time is it?”
Nestor had gone back to his desk and Aricus didn’t bother to answer, just led Rowan out of the room. The passage outside was even gloomier than the laboratory, a stone tunnel that curved away into the darkness. The only lights were a few anemic torches set into the walls, and spaced between them were metal cage doors. As Aricus led him down the hall Rowan tried to look through them, see if he recognized anyone. There were a few shapes that might have been human, but most either didn’t move or scuttled backwards as they passed.
The guard finally stopped and let go of him to unlock one of the cell doors. It was almost pitch-black inside, but Rowan’s eyes were adjusting and he could see that the walls on either side were barely any wider than the door itself. It looked more like another passageway than a cell. With a shriek of rusty metal the door swung open. Rowan took a step back, but Aricus seemed to have anticipated this, and once again he went for the bad arm. One good yank and Rowan stumbled forward into the cell with a stifled grunt of pain.
The cell was just as narrow as it looked from the outside. If Rowan’s wrists hadn’t been shackled he probably could have touched either wall with his hands, and even like this he could probably manage with his elbows. He’d never thought of himself as claustrophobic before now, but he was starting to have second thoughts. The door clanged shut behind him, and he heard Aricus’s footsteps fade away into nothing. Well, relatively speaking. Now that he was alone Rowan could hear voices, albeit faintly. Muttering, sobbing, something that might have been rambling.
Cautiously, Rowan walked further into the cell, hands upraised. Before he found the wall his foot bumped something soft, and when he crouched down and felt it, he realized it was a sleeping mat. He had to step on it to go further, and just beyond it his fingers brushed the far wall. Cold air brushed his face, and with a flicker of relief, he realized there was a window. It was high and narrow, but he could just make out a sliver of night sky.
Rowan sagged against the wall with a groan. Moving like that twinged his swollen shoulder, tugged on the stitchwork on his back. It felt worse than before, like the thread was cutting into the skin. He wondered if it would get infected. This whole place smelled like damp and rot, and whatever Nestor said about colds Rowan didn’t think the chill was good for him.
Rest seemed like the best option at this point. Rowan sat down on the mat, getting as comfortable as he could. In doing so he found a blanket, a coarse, thin cloth that scratched against his raw skin, but he was glad to have something to wrap himself up in. That just about summed up his night. He’d been tortured, but his fancy spell hadn’t worked. It’d take time—maybe a long time—for him to get it right, which meant Linden had more time to regroup, maybe find someone else with magic who could protect him. Maybe he’d be able to rebuild the army somewhere, strike back against the Arzaians just when they thought they’d won. Plus there were plenty of other people they’d made into their enemies; Thiel, for one, and those mountain tribes in the north. His head full of visions of battles and counterattacks, Rowan drifted off into an uneasy sleep.
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crystalgirl259 · 3 months ago
The Flame and the Dragon Ch17
Chapter 17: The Reason
"Would you hold still?!" Kai snapped, pulling the cloth soaked with medical herbs from the kitchen away.
"That stings!" Cole argued as he moved his clawed hand to cover the wound and prevent Kai from touching it but hissed every time his claws grazed the surface of the wound. Kai snorted feeling his blood boil in rage. He'd had to drag the man back to the castle and wake up some of the servants to get the things he needed. Then he had to drag Cole to the kitchen and force him to sit on the table. Shade all but exploded when the two entered the kitchen covered in leaves, dirt, and blood, all of which were scattered all over the room.
Then he practically buried Kai and Cole with questions when he saw the wound on the man's chest, despite Cole's insistence that it was only a scratch and that he was fine.
He only managed to free himself of the other noirette's badgering by pointing to Kai. The brunette was digging through the cabinets for anything he could use. Shade all but exploded. Now, Kai had to put up with the Dragon Lord acting like a child while he tried to remove his coat and the remains of his shirt to nurse his wounds. His already thinning patience was on the verge of snapping.
"If you'd hold still, and let me clean the damn thing, it wouldn't hurt as much!"
"If you hadn't run away, this never would've happened!" Cole yelled in a voice bitter with sarcasm before he deliberately scolded. "Do you have any idea how stupid that was? How much danger you were in! You were only lucky you were on your way back to the castle, or I wouldn't have been able to save you!" He shouted. Kai growled and threw down the washcloth.
"If you hadn't started blasting things and scaring me, I never would've left!" The teen countered, if for nothing more than to wipe the smirk off the man's face. "You scared the shit out of me!"
"You shouldn't have been in the West Wing in the first place! You were specifically told what it was, by several people I might add, and I never permitted you to enter my room! How would you feel if someone entered your room without permission? And don't lie to me because we both know you've would've reacted the same way!" Cole retorted. Kai felt his ego bruise at that comment and opened his mouth to protest but bit back the words and exhaled.
"You're right." He said with no emotion. Cole was stunned and clearly not expecting such a response.
"I beg your pardon?"
"I said you are right." He repeated in a more civil voice. He was tired of this blame game. "I shouldn't have gone into your room without your permission and I'm sorry." He said and his apology was sincere, but when he looked up again, his fierce eyes bore into Cole's. The dragon hybrid sat frozen by the intensity. "But I'm not the only one at fault here! You should learn to control your temper!" He scolded. Instantly, Cole opened his mouth to counter but immediately realized he had no answer.
He felt his pride deflate when he realized the boy was right. He had lost his temper, but he refused to take all the blame for this.
"I'm the only one with a temper or at fault here! You should learn to listen and do what you're told!"
"I already know that!" Kai snapped, collapsing into a chair. "I'm too impulsive; it's one of my faults but, to be honest, if you weren't always hiding maybe I wouldn't be so curious." He mumbled out loud, dumping more yarrow on the cloth. "I've been here almost a month and the only thing I know about you is that you have a temper, you're a control freak and you can throw energy."
"Haven't you ever heard 'curiosity killed the cat'?" Cole snorted but chuckled lightly.
"Yeah, I have." Kai chuckled. "As a kid, I always heard the story of Bluebeard; everyone always said it was supposed to show how curiosity only causes trouble." He chuckled then smiled. "But I always thought that if that were true and the girl obeyed her husband, he would've killed her anyway, and start the process all over again, but because of her curiosity, not only did she find out the truth, she and her brothers managed to kill the guy and save a lot of other girls from suffering the same fate." He burst out laughing at the memory.
Cole just stared as he listened intensely.
"No one could answer that one, not even Mom and Dad said curiosity was a double-edged sword; it helps us learn new things and make discoveries but if we let it get the better of us, we set ourselves up for trouble and I always let mine get the best of me."
"Obviously," Cole added before his voice took a stricter tone. "Next time you want to ease your curiosity, you should try asking."
"So if I asked you, you would have let me into your room even if it was for the sake of getting to know you better?" He asked with a raised eyebrow, his voice a mixture of sarcasm and teasing.
"Hell no!" Cole blurted out fiercely. He realized his mistake when the smirk on Kai's face widened. Again his pride was dented. "I see your point." He mumbled with as much dignity as he could muster.
"And you say I'm impulsive." Kai teased.
"You are." He countered, leaning closer to him. Since he was sitting at the table, their eyes were level with each other. "You're reckless, that's why you get into trouble and you never have the control to hold your tongue when the time calls for it, and you always put others or your pride before your own safety; there's a time and place when your own safety should be more important than defending your pride."
"Like in the woods, when that thing tried to kill you?" Kai asked as he raised an eyebrow in an accosting tone. "I don't care what happens to me if someone I care about is in danger! If I can help them I will!"
"You care about me?" Cole smirked and a blush painted Kai's face before he growled back.
"That's not the point!"
"I know what you meant." He chuckled as he shook his head with a small smile. "But I stand by what I told you before, if you keep focusing on everyone else's happiness and let your pride get the better of you, you'll never be happy." He said and the statement didn't anger Kai as much as it did the first time, but he still felt his irritation spike as a result. He opened his mouth to protest but Cole cut him off. "Everyone else who goes out of their way to try and make you happy will constantly worry about you because they know you'll always put everyone else before yourself." The hybrid said and any protest or angry words died in his throat.
He never looked at it that way before but it was as if the last piece of an extremely difficult puzzle had suddenly been put into place.
Nya had told him something similar before she and Lloyd had left. Everyone else in the palace had been sick with worry over him since he arrived, worse after his and Cole's fight. The teen put the medical supplies down and lowered his head.
"Why did you let me stay here?" He asked in a low voice, unsure if he wanted an answer.
"I don't understand." Cole blinked. Kai raised his head and glared at him.
"When I asked you to let me stay in Nya and Lloyd's place, why did you say yes? You said so yourself, I'm nothing but trouble?"
"I never said that." Cole corrected.
"That doesn't answer my question." Kai glared. Now it was Cole's turn to smile, a smile that curled at the corners.
"You really want to know why I let you stay here?" He asked and Kai nodded.
"Because you fascinated me the second I saw you." He replied and he raised his claws and spoke in a passionate, free-flowing voice as if he no longer had to keep something secret. Kai was clearly not expecting such an answer.
"I'd never seen or met anyone like you; you found my castle all on your own, you were willing to sacrifice everything for your family and when you saw my true form for the first time, not only were you not afraid of me, you knew who I was! I didn't believe it when my staff called your arrival here a miracle, but everything about you astounded me." Cole paused for a moment, taking in the stunned expression on Kai's face. "Every time you saw me, you showed no fear and you refused to obey or respect me unless it was earned and you defy my every order; you countered every rule, regulation, or demand I made with one of your own and you had an answer for each one."
He paused for a moment and looked around the kitchen, not surprised to see the staff had left.
"You treat everyone in the castle-like people, where anyone else would've fled in terror, you let them pamper you even though you hate being waited on, you treat this place as if it were your home, and you put your own needs on hold for the sake of someone else." He sighed and Kai blinked again, but Cole was unsure if he was truly confused or if he disbelieved Cole meant what he was saying. "I agreed to keep you here for the reason that everything about you fascinates me from your beauty, intelligence, spirit, fiery temper, fierce independence, courage, heart... need I go on?" Cole smirked at the crimson blush spreading rapidly across Kai's face when he realized Cole was serious.
"You're like a desert rose, Kai, something so unique and powerful that it can grow in the wildest of places." He smiled warmly. "You're like one giant puzzle and no matter how hard I try, I can't figure you out, but mark my words, I plan to." He promised. Kai just sat there for a moment, too stunned to speak. His mind was still trying to process what he was just told, completely ignoring the blush he knew was blazing across his face. When his mind finally put everything into perspective, he smiled a small smile and laughed.
"Funny, back home everyone but my siblings considered me everything from odd and peculiar to weird and bizarre for the way I am, and yet here, everyone seems to like me for that reason."
"Then those ignorant, backward fools need to get their asses out of the past and accept the end of aristocracy; I've been trapped in this castle for over a hundred years and I know full well things are much different." Cole laughed. Kai couldn't help but laugh in agreement. He flashed a small smile before turning back to the cloth soaked in yarrow medicine.
"Now hold still and let me finish cleaning this, it'll sting a bit." He warned before pressing the liquid-drenched cloth to the wound. Cole bit his lip, a hiss making his pain evident but he held still while the boy gently worked.
"Just a little longer, I promise." Kai comforted him, throwing away the dirty rag and grabbing another one. Once the wound was clean, he screwed the yarrow jar shut and took out a cotton-padded patch large enough to cover the entire wound. He grabbed one of the thick aloe leaves, cut it open, and squeezed the clear gelatin onto the patch before carefully spreading it all over. Cole watched patiently as he emptied the entire leaf until it curled.
Once that was done, Kai carefully lifted the patch from the bottom and pressed it to the wound.
Cole hissed, but this time, he only felt slight discomfort.
"Don't worry," Kai said, wiping off his hands. "It's aloe, it's more soothing than yarrow and it'll stop the itch and it's also a very powerful disinfectant." He explained, pressing his hand to the patch gently. "Now, I just need you to remove your coat so I can bandage it." He said and Cole shrugged the garment off his shoulders, revealing his entire upper body. Kai bit back a blush as the naked flesh was revealed to him. Kai quickly grabbed the bandages and carefully began wrapping them around Cole's waist.
"You're a good nurse," Cole commented, noticing how skilled the teen was.
"Thank you." He replied as he forced down another blush.
"Where'd you learn this, if you don't mind me asking?"
"My mom and dad taught me," Kai replied. "Our family was well known for their knowledge of herbs and since we traveled a lot when I was younger, we had to make sure we knew what to do in case one of us got hurt before we reached the next town or doctor, but most of the time, it was just me and Dad always teased me, saying that was why the yarrow stung; it was both a healer and a punishment for misbehaving."
"Sounds like the two of you were close."
"When I was little, he would always buy me the most beautiful and bizarre things wherever we went and he'd tell me stories about them." Kai smiled. "My favorites were always the ones about how our family descended from a powerful line of warriors from Japan."
"He sounds like a good man." Cole laughed. "My father was like that, he always told me our family was chosen by the legendary dragon to protect this kingdom from corruption and prejudice, and obviously, this castle's theme was modeled around that myth."
"I noticed," Kai replied as he tied the bandage tightly. Once he was finished, he frowned and turned away again. Cole looked concerned until he noticed another blush forming on the boy's cheeks. "Thank you, by the way." The teen finally spoke.
"Thank you, for saving me." He clarified. Now it was Cole's turn to blush, but he hid it by coughing in his hand.
"You're welcome, and thank you... for coming back." He added.
"I made a promise and I intend to keep it."
"Oh, is that all?" Cole replied, sounding a little disappointed.
"No, that's not all." Kai giggled a bit. "Honestly, I like it here; it's nice to be away from that town for a while and I'd feel bad if I left everyone without saying goodbye, and besides, I want to get to know you too." He added. Cole just smiled and gently ran his claws through Kai's hair before scooping him into his arms like a bride. The teenager yelped at the sudden movement.
"H-Hey! W-Wait a minute!" The teen protested.
"Don't think this means you're off the hook, you're still in big trouble for going in my room," Cole smirked and laughed. Kai snorted and crossed his arms. He hated being carried. The few staff members watching backed away as Cole flew through the hallway with his captive in his arms. The four creatures stood frozen, their eyes bulged and their mouths dropped in identical masks of shock.
"Um..." Jay mouthed, pointing to where the two men just were. "Did they just—"
"Uh-huh." Ronin nodded.
"And then they—" Tox continued.
"Yup." Echo finished. This was certainly an interesting turn of events...
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waitimcomingtoo · 4 months ago
In Case You Don’t Live Forever
~chapter one rewritten~
Pairing: Peter Parker x Venom!Reader
Synopsis: you are Peter’s greatest love and Spider-Man’s greatest enemy
Masterlist and Series Masterlist
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“Married?” You squeaked as your eyes grazed over the words on the card a hundred times without retaining any of the information. As you momentarily forgot how to even read, you had to rely on the words coming out of Andy’s mouth.
“Yes, uh, married.” He awkwardly cleared his throat. “Dani and I are getting married over the summer.”
The awkward silence filled the air, suffocating the three of you, but you didn’t care. You were still staring at that damn card. That damn card that said your ex boyfriend was getting married to another girl.
“Married.” You repeated, at a loss for words.
“You said that already, dumbass.” Venom chimed in, telepathically. You rolled your eyes and kicked the bench, signaling to her to quiet down.
“Yeah.” He said again. “I know we’re young, but I’m sure about her. She’s the love of my life.”
“Wow. Good for you.” You faked a smile as you stared at the invitation. “It’s Uh, it’s a lot to take in.”
“I know. That’s why I wanted to tell you in person. I figured it would be better than you randomly getting the card in the mail and finding out that way.” Andy explained.
“Our hero.” Venom snarled, so you pinched your leg to send her the message to be quiet.
“Yeah. Yeah, no, I’m glad you told me.” You lied as your eyes finally processed something on the card.
“You’re getting married on August 10?” You asked, finally tearing your eyes away from the invitation to look at him. He looked good, you had to admit. His curly brown hair was cut shorter than usual and he was still wearing his police uniform.
“Bright and early. I chose that day because-“
“Because it’s your parents anniversary. I know.” You cut him off, a little sharply.
“I’m sorry if this is awkward.” He frowned. “I understand if you’re too hurt to come.”
“It’s fine. We were together and now we’re not. Besides, I’m really happy for you and Dani. She really helped me get back on my feet when Venom and I first bonded. I like her. And if you want to marry her on that day, then go ahead.” You said, and you meant it. You did like Dani. You’d like her more if she wasnt dating the love of your life, but hey, nobody’s perfect.
“You’re lying. We want him back. He looks so juicy and delicious.” Venom said. You choked on your saliva for a moment at her words and Andy was quick to pat your back.
“You alright?” He asked. You nodded and made a mental note to have a domestic conversation about boundaries with Venom when you got home.
“I’m fine. And anyways, I’ve uh, I’ve moved on.” You lied, adverting your eyes so he wouldn’t catch on.
“What? No we haven’t?” Venom didn’t grasp the social cue.
“You have?” Andy asked, seemingly taken aback.
“No! We love you!” Venom growled in your head.
“Yep. I’m in a deeply committed and loving relationship.” You nodded as you looked anywhere but at him. It wasn’t a total lie. You were technically in a relationship with Venom, though be it a host/parasite kinda deal.
“What’s he like?” Andy wondered, looking pissed off all the sudden.
“They’re great. They’re, uh…tall. Super, super tall.” You began to describe Venom. So far, it was all true. Venom was 7’6 in her final form.
“They’re black, like yourself, and they’ve got this big, beautiful smile.” You could feel yourself cringing internally as you painted the picture for him.
“You think our smile is beautiful?” Venom teased you.
“And they just always have my back. They’re my ride or die, you know? If I didn’t have them, I’d be dead. Literally.” You finished. Also true. If you and Venom ever got separated, you would both die. Andy was looking off into the distance, sucking his teeth before nodding again.
“That’s nice.” He said, but his tone didn’t sound like he thought it was nice.
“I’d literally die.” You repeated to fill the awkward silence.
“I get it.” He deadpanned.
“Like, I’d freaking perish.”
“Alright.” He held up his hands and you stopped.
“So, do you think you can come?” He brought the conversation back to him, something he was good at.
Of course you could come. What else would you be doing? But you were just getting back on my feet after losing your job and a wedding might be too much too soon. You were at rock bottom before you found Venom. Well, before you found each other. That was nearly a year ago, but that day came back in flashes every now and then...
“You’re seriously breaking up with me? Over a job?” You asked as you followed Andy out of the police station. You were under the impression that he had just been fired because of the files you took from his computer. Classified files on local businessman Carlton Drake and the people he had killed with his experiments, of course.
“Yeah, I am.” He snapped. “I’m done with you.”
“Can’t we talk about this?” You pleaded as you followed him down the street.
“Okay.” He stopped, looking angry. “Do you want to talk about how you embarrassed me in front of my precinct? I just got yelled at in front of my all my coworkers because of you and your greed. You used me for your stupid show.”
“I wasn’t being greedy.” You insisted, ignoring that he called your job stupid. “You had the information on Carlton Drake and I needed it to make an accusation. He’s killing people! He’s a bad guy, Andy. And I write about and report bad men. That’s my job. I didn’t know that looking at your files would get you fired.”
Andy put his hands on his hips and looked around, suddenly sheepish.
“I wasn’t fired.” He mumbled.
“What?” You switched from upset to confused. “Then why are you angry?”
“I was demoted to traffic duty for two weeks because of you.” He pointed an angry finger at you and you almost laughed.
“I’m sorry, wait.” You compared yourself. “You’re breaking up with me after two years together because I got you demoted to traffic duty? Are you serious?”
“Do you know how embarrassing it is to wear that orange vest? It’s humiliating.” Andy shouted and you covered your mouth to keep from laughing. “Everyone in the neighborhood knows me and now they’re gonna know I’m on traffic duty.”
“People know you?” Your eyes widened at how dense he was being. “Andy, I’m a local celebrity. I had a whole show on YouTube that I was just fired from. Actually fired. You’re just a police officer who was demoted.”
“To traffic duty.” He repeated, as if it was suddenly worse.
“I know!” You snapped before calming down. “Are we really over? Just because of one mistake?”
“You used me.” He shrugged. “I can’t trust you.”
You stared at him as he walked over to you, never breaking eye contact as he took his key off your key ring.
“We’re over.” He hissed before turning around and walking away.
“Y/N?” Andy waved a hand in front of your face, snapping you out of it.
“Oh, right sorry. Um…” You trailed off as you mulled it over. You were happy for him, but you weren’t ready to see him marry someone else. That was gonna be you guys. Of course you wanted to be at his wedding, but you wanted to be the bride.
“Actually, I cant.” You blurted, quickly thinking of a lie. “The Daily Bugle called me and offered me a job in New York. They want me to cover a story on some serial killer. I was gonna move there part time until the story is done. I’m leaving in a few weeks.”
It was partially true. The Daily Bugle did reach out to ask you to write the story, but you had planned to write it at home. News of Andy’s impending marriage was enough to drive you out of the state.
“Oh really?” Andy raised an eyebrow. “Wow.”
He was never one to celebrate you, even when you were together, but his reaction seemed different now. He almost seemed surprised that you were still successful without him.
“Yea. I just finalized everything this morning.” You lied again as you wondered how you’d get a NYC apartment on such short notice. “But hey, maybe I’ll finish early and make it back in time for your big day. I mean, it’s only April. I have lots of time. How many people could this guy possible kill until August?” You joked, but Andy didn’t laugh. He never really got your sense of humor.
“That’s great Y/N.” He nodded, not much enthusiasm behind it. “Things are really turning around for you. I can’t believe you found a job and a boyfriend. I didn’t think it would happen.”
You narrowed your eyes at his condescending comment but decided to brush it off.
“Well, it did. I’m on to bigger and better things.” You cut into him a little as you stood up. “I better go. I told my partner I’d meet them for lunch. Bye!”
“Bye!” Andy called after you, still in a funk from what you told him.
You practically ran home and slid down your door once you got inside.
“Holy shit. I’m such a liar.” You grimaced and covered my face with my hands. Venom manifested herself in her snake-like form and looked at you.
“You’re not a liar if we move to New York and start dating.” She said, making you laugh.
“You have a point. In that case, will you be my girlfriend, Miss Venom?” You asked sarcastically and Venom grinned.
“You’re not really my type, but I’m willing to settle.” Venom matched your sarcasm.
“Then let’s make moving plans, baby.” You sighed. “We’re going to New York.”
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the-world-of-erit · 4 months ago
Reversed (Reworked) Chapter Three
Chapter Title: Deacon’s Quandary Word Count: 4270 Rating: PG Genre: Fantasy/Gen
Summary: Although John's made friends with students from other Views, it doesn't look like his Vexxzusian friends are too thrilled. After an explanation of Freddie's Ghittan magic, John stalks away, only to find a problem hidden in the dark reaches of the Vexxzus dormitory.
Read Chapter on AO3 and/or Leave Comments!
"There's nothing about it not to get," Freddie said, wrapping his hands around the open pouch on the table. Over the past month, the unlikely quartet had sort of staked out their own territory in the Well, always gravitating toward the same spot. They gathered there whenever possible--every day, if they could.
"I agree," Brian said.
Today, Roger had dismissed Ghittan magic. Freddie had things to say about that, and he wasn't about to let Brian pontificate in his stead. "You would," he replied, albeit he hoped with satirical affection.
Brian tried: "It's just that--"
"Tut-tut," Freddie interrupted. "I'm explaining today. You've chosen to wear the colors of Kyyra. That means I'm better than you at at least one thing."
Brian sighed.
Freddie dipped his fingers into the beaded pouch, removing just a pinch of loamy sand collected from the bottom of the hot spring. "The earth has power," he said. "And if you're very lucky, like me, you can feel its magic coursing through you every time you touch it. That's why so many in our View don't wear shoes, see? Even though the Vale is built right from the earth, it's still manufactured. The power is so much less. Unless we're here in the Recreation Well. It's powerful here. Natural."
"But carrying around a bag," Roger said. "With dirt in it!"
"Several, actually." Smiling, Freddie removed a few more from his pockets, each collected from a different place. "I've quite the collection of pouches, you see. You can never tell what a situation will call for. In any case, within the Vale, I can't do magic without a strong connection to the earth. Think of the pouches as a supplement. Each grain contains the magic of the planet, so I can use it even indoors."
"But the soil expires," Brian said. He couldn't help it, Freddie supposed.
"Yes, yes, I was getting to that. Detached from the planet, the magic eventually fades."
"What a hassle," Roger said. "If I had to buy a new wand every couple days, I just wouldn't do magic."
Freddie laughed. "I don't buy a new pouch! I just dump out what I have so the earth can renew its magic, then I collect from somewhere else."
Roger dismissively waved a hand. "But you have to walk to do that. Right? What if you're sick, or you're just super lazy?"
"Like you?" John wondered.
The insult flew over Roger's head. "Exactly!"
"Well, that's why we each gravitate toward a certain View," Brian said. Taking hold of a fine silver chain, he pulled a severely faceted sapphire from the collar of his jumper. "There's some people who can choose between one or the other, but I think we all sort of have a certain favorite in our hearts. One that's easiest for us to manage."
"A gem's the same as a wand or a staff," Roger argued.
"You know that's not true." Brian reached behind his neck, unclasping the gem so he could set it on the table. "It's similar, but the gem draws from the self. My own innate magic. And Roger, your wand draws from the magical implement inside it. Magic-From-Magic."
Each View had its own sort of... mantra. One that governed the entire discipline. Magic-From-Magic. Magic-From-Self. Magic-From-Earth. And, of course, the newest View, Magic-From-Death.
Roger narrowed silver eyes. "I've seen you tire yourself out."
"Yes, yes," Brian said. "It's true. It can be depleted if I do too much. But the advantage is, I will eventually be able to do more with what I have, because the magic is mine. I understand it better than any of you will ever be able to understand yours. Anyway, why are we arguing? There's no View that's better than any other. Each has its own advantages and... limitations."
Somehow, their gaze collectively wandered to John. He noticed. And bristled. "What!"
"Having to kill something to do magic is a pretty bad limitation," Roger said.
Uncomfortable, John fidgeted. "It's okay. I breed the beetles in a tank in my dorm." He produced a leather strap from his pocket, which had been rolled into a spiral. At various intervals, a tiny glass vial was attached to the leather; each vial contained a bit of moss and a single shimmering beetle. "My parents told me to always make sure their deaths are quick and painless."
Freddie couldn't help but say, "Their deaths would be entirely preventable if you'd try Ghittan. Here." He handed over one of his many pouches. One that actually complimented the Vexxzusian colors of green and black. "My gift. From me... to you. Aren't you grateful?"
John stared at the pouch as if it contained deadly acid.
"He says he can't do other magic," Roger said. "I tried to get him to try Oerris, but he said he can only do the one."
Brian arched his eyebrows. "Some have a strong preference," he said. "And some can only do a couple. But the nature of death magic is--"
"Everyone knows if you're a Vexxzus, it's a choice," Freddie finished. "Any Vexxzus has at least one other discipline they can master. It's... Oh, I don't know. The promise of potentially unlimited power that draws people to death magic. It's selfish, is what it is. Er..."
Sometimes, he forgot. Even in the middle of a conversation, it could absolutely slip Freddie's mind that John was a Vexxzus. He attempted to salvage his blunder. "Present company excepted? I mean, that's just what they say. Tell him, Brian."
With sarcasm, Brian said, "You want me to talk now?"
"Yes, please."
He sighed. "I don't know a lot about it. I know I can do it if I want to, but I've always found it off-putting. But... Yes. I think it's pretty common knowledge that--uh--what Freddie said."
John stood, seizing the pouch and stuffing it into the pocket with his beetles. "Thanks for the dirt," he growled, stalking away.
Freddie hoped it was all for show, but John eventually disappeared into the stairwell. Strangely, a couple other Vexxzus deliberately followed him.
"Did you see that?" Freddie asked.
"The tantrum?" Roger replied. "Yeah, I think we all did."
"No, he's being followed," Brian said. "I don't think some of the others in his View are happy with him hanging out with us. The Vexxzuses don't really like the other Views. I guess it makes sense, considering how we feel. I'm not too keen on the Vexxzuses either, except for John."
"Imagine if they knew he was hanging out with a mermaid, too," Roger said.
"Once again," Freddie hissed, "Siren. Not mermaid. Sirens are much prettier."
"You're so ugly, though." Roger practically beamed with glee, barely ducking out of the way as Freddie swiped at him. He'd really walked right into that one. For all Roger acted like an idiot, he was awfully quick with a joke.
"You're still compensating for asking me to marry you. You know? After the incident? That's what you're doing." Freddie knew the comment hit home when Roger blushed. "Oh, don't be embarrassed. You're not the first."
"I almost did," Brian admitted. "Of course, I have half an ounce of sense."
"This is not Pick-on-Roger day," Roger muttered. "I checked my calendar this morning."
"He starts it, then he can't take it," Brian explained. "Anyway, they're going to be posting a list of some of the new books that are coming in at Illiya's--" He went to check his watch, and found it wasn't there.
Roger held it up. "Nabbed it while you had your giant nose stuck in a book."
"Give me that, you little thief." Brian snatched it out of the air, strapping it back around his wrist as he hurried off. "My nose is just fine. And you're terrible."
"Eh, I know." Roger shrugged, stood, and stretched. "I'm going to go have a nap before try-outs."
"Try-outs?" Freddie wondered. "You're going out for Virtuatekk?"
"Wish me luck!" Roger said, turning on his heel.
Which left Freddie alone.
Freddie hated being alone, but more than that, he hated being alone with guilt. At least if Roger and Brian had stayed, Freddie would be able to distract himself with conversation. But all he could see was the betrayed look on John's face. The disappointment. The trauma.
He should probably apologize. "Can't believe I'm doing this," he said, pushing himself to his feet.
The main stairwell from the Well branched into several others, each leading to different parts of the school. Though they could be confusing, and many a student had lost their way within the winding paths, Freddie inherited at least a bit of his father's sense of direction. Though he'd never been to the Vexxzusian dormitory before, he knew the general direction of its location, and soon found his way there.
But then almost thought twice about continuing, because the area was so completely foul. Dungeonlike, it was constructed out of low ceilings and stone pillars. It was dark and smelled of rot and death, which made sense, but made for a rather unpleasant aura. Freddie couldn't even feel a hint of the earth's magic through his toes, as if the very earth had forsaken this place. He'd have to brave the cobwebs and giant spiders--seriously, why were there giant spiders?--if it meant making sure John was okay.
Was it so unkempt because the rest of the Vale avoided this place? Did the cleaning staff even venture here? Stepping over a spilled potion puddling on the uneven floor, Freddie searched for any hint that the area had been dusted in the last twenty years.
Perhaps the interior of the dormitory was more palatable than the reception area. If not, he'd have to have words with John, and perhaps entice him into joining Ghittan. Some students did switch Views, after all, once it became clear that they fit better elsewhere.
As Freddie pondered his pitch, he heard soft sobbing.
Narrowing his eyes, he turned a corner toward it and nearly sauntered right into a trio of Vexxzuses with their backs turned to him. Quickly, silently, he ducked behind a crumbling partition. Hidden by shadow, he could almost sit right out in the open to watch them as they gathered around a fourth student on his hands and knees, shivering on the damp floor. It was John.
"Aw, he's crying now," one of the voices mocked.
"Good," said another.
"Do it again," the first voice said.
"I already did," John cried. "Please, just--"
"Do it again!"
Through the brutish Vexxzuses' arms, Freddie watched John reach into the Ghittani earth pouch and take just a pinch, then mutter some words Freddie couldn't hear. It must have been a spell.
Immediately, John screamed and whimpered, falling over onto his side.
Freddie wanted to run to him, but there was no way he could fight his way through three nearly-graduated Vexxzuses, as oily and wiry as they were.
"You'll thank us later," the first voice said. "You're going to do this again and again until you figure out why we don't hang out with the other Views. We protect our own."
This certainly didn't seem like protection. What were they doing to him?
"We should have another twenty minutes before anyone comes down here," the second voice said. "Go make sure no one's coming. It's gonna get worse."
Freddie ducked back into the shadows as footsteps approached, then passed. Once the Vexxzus was out of sight, Freddie peered around the partition again, only to wish he hadn't. He could see John much more clearly now. Huddled on the floor, the second-year cradled his hand, which had erupted with a hundred boils. Someone had also cursed him with antlers, too, as his hair was stacked and stretched unnaturally into characteristic pronged horns. With John's long hair, he had quite an impressive set. In fact, his head was bent forward, unable to support their weight.
"Careful. Don't go too far," The second voice said. "If he backfires enough..."
"I know. It'd serve him right, hanging out with..." the first voice trailed off, then said, "Don't, by the way. You're lucky this is just a warning--Hey!"
As John tried to crawl away, the first Vexxzus kicked him. Hard.
John yelped, and Freddie had seen enough.
He'd never used his voice as a weapon before. At least, not like he was thinking of using it. Still, he began to sing the words of an old song, hoping immunity to his voice wasn't a common Vexxzusian trait.
"The breeze in Scotland bends the trees The trees refuse to break The Wind blows waves onto the shore Destruction in its wake Soon all is left in ruins The trees, the land, and man The Siren lives and stands alone Their death, his only plan."
He waited for them to come running, to find him, to beat him like they did to John, but it was silent, except for the whimpering. Freddie looked around the partition again, finding the two older Vexxzus students staring at him blankly. John was staring at the floor, his antlers resting on it. Now and again, he sobbed quietly.
Confident they wouldn't be able to break out of the song's spell, Freddie hurried forward, kneeling next to John. He looked bad, face contorted in pain. "It's okay, I'm here now."
John just whimpered.
"John?" Freddie said.
The boy tried to lift his head, but couldn't. Freddie rifled through his pockets until he found the spring-silt bag. "I'm gonna cut the antlers off. Your hair's going to be shorter for a while, but you'll be able to walk, at least. Okay?"
"Mm-hm," John answered.
Smudging a bit of dirt onto each antler, Freddie intoned "Ecutis" and severed both. They clattered to the floor and John finally looked up, green eyes wide and filled with tears.
"I thought--They--"
"Shh. It's okay. We'll get you to the hospital."
Freddie had to deal with the other Vexxzuses first, though. "I hate your whole bloody View, John. Seriously. You lot." He looked up, addressing the boys. "You ever do this again... You ever bother him again..."
Could he do this? It was stepping over a line... Appealing to their self-preservation while robbing them of a choice. "Don't hurt him ever again. If you do, I'll kill you."
They nodded stupidly.
"And... And you're to forget I was here. You're to forget it was me. Go--Go back to your dorms now. Stay there 'til tomorrow."
Unquestioningly, they did, shuffling off like zombies.
Freddie actually felt sick.
But he could think about that later. "You think you can walk?" he asked. John nodded, pushing himself to his feet with cracked, reddened hands. "Good. Good, we'll get you upstairs."
It was a long way to go with no one seeing them. But he didn't want to leave John down in the cold dungeon while he went to fetch someone. Thankfully, the sight of a Ghittan tugging an injured Vexxzus along by half an antler was just too much of a puzzle for some people to grasp, so they were left alone all the way up to the infirmary.
Once there, Salwix greeted them with, "You? Again?"
Freddie had no idea what that was about. "I found him outside his dorm. He was attacked." He didn't say what he'd done to the students who'd done the attacking, though. It was horrible, robbing someone of their free will. Plus, he was still afraid that someone would find out, even though he'd told the Vexxzuses to forget.
"Attacked?" Salwix said. "Did you see who?"
"No, I don't know the Vexxzuses," Freddie said. "And besides, I only saw their backs." Another lie. "Can you help him?"
"Of course," Matron Salwix said. "Of course. You run along now, though. I'll have to figure out what this is before I can heal it."
Freddie nodded, weakly making his way out of the infirmary and sitting down on the top step just outside.
That's where Roger and Brian found him several hours later.
"He didn't really say anything. That was the scary part," Freddie said, after he'd told the story. "I mean, John always has something to say. But all the way upstairs, he just..."
"Poor kid," Roger said. "It's okay, we'll figure out who it was."
"I might have left that part out," Freddie said, looking at his hands. "I mean, they'll... They'll definitely leave him alone now. We don't have to figure out who it was."
For all he tried to forget it, Freddie could remember each of their staring, blank faces as if he'd known them his whole life.
"Freddie, what'd you do?" Brian asked.
"I told them... If they ever hurt John again, I'd kill them. Then I told them to forget who I was." Freddie wouldn't look up. He couldn't bear it if Roger and Brian were judging him. "And they have no reason to believe I can't kill them, since they don't know what I can do."
"What's wrong with that?" Roger asked. "Sounds pretty smart to me."
"Under the circumstances..." Brian said. "It sounds like you did the right thing."
"Yeah, but taking away their free will..." Freddie started, but Brian held out a hand, cutting him off.
"You took away their ability to hurt someone. Bugger their free will. If they're going to go after John because he's friends with you, I say you did the right thing."
Roger nodded.
Freddie only felt marginally better. It was one thing to agree with what he did. It was another thing entirely to have done it. "If I can do that, what's to stop me from telling someone to jump off the top of the Vale, or I'll kill 'em?"
"There's nothing," Brian said. "But that's not who you are, is it?"
"Of course it's not," Roger said, smiling. His eyes were an iron-colored silver, turning slowly purple as it prepared to rain. "Think about what you did, Fred. How old were they? Sixth? Seventh year? You took out all of 'em by singing. You might have saved John's life."
"I don't think they would have killed him," Freddie said.
"Still," Brian said. "You did good. Nothing about what you did is remotely bad."
They turned around to find John standing just outside the infirmary door. The antlers were gone now, though his hair was much shorter and puffy, almost cloud-like. There was a nasty bruise under one eye, and his hands were bandaged. "Did you wait here for me?"
"Of course," Freddie said. "And these two found me when I didn't show up in Rec."
John sat down on the step next to Freddie, and leaned on his shoulder. "I'm so tired," he said. Freddie put his arm around him.
John did seem so much younger than the others just then. He was small, even for a second-year, and at the moment, he was even quieter than usual. To think that other people from his house--sixth or seventh years at that, Freddie was sure--could attack him so viciously that he'd stop talking entirely...
"I'm... Allergic to the other Views," John said. "I'm not supposed to tell anyone. The other Vexxzuses think it makes us weak."
"Allergic?" Brian asked. "Like..."
"Yeah. Some Vexxzuses are. If we try to cast magic in other ways, it backfires. It doesn't matter what you cast, either. The effect is random. And the more you try, the worse it gets. I don't know how far they were gonna go, Freddie. If you hadn't found me..." He tapered off, shaking his head.
All Freddie could say was "I'm so sorry."
"That's why some people go to Vexxzus," Brian realized. "They have to. They don't have a choice."
John nodded.
"Well, I'm glad you're still talking to us," Freddie said. "Those brutes made a compelling point. Are you going to--I mean, what if someone else...?"
John smiled. "I'll be ready next time. I'm tougher than I look. Besides, those ones Freddie sang at are the worst, and they won't bother me anymore!" Freddie detected a note of pride in the second-year's voice, and it made all his worries evaporate.
"No, they won't," Freddie replied. "But there's others...?"
"I said I can deal with the others," John said, a hint of his constant low-grade irritation returning. "They won't catch me off guard again, trust me."
"Temper," Roger said.
John reached around Freddie and gave Roger a shove with a heavily-bandaged hand.
"Just be careful," Brian said. "You've got a long ways to go here. Don't get yourself expelled."
"Oh, I'll be careful," John promised, with the ghost of a very reckless smile.
Brian knew something was up when John asked him to create a spellslip.
Spellslips were a creation of Kyyra mages and contained just a tiny, temporary, extremely malleable shred of self-magic written on paper. They had dozens of practical uses, and more talented Kyyra could transfer their magic in amazingly creative ways.
John didn't ask for anything creative, though. He asked for a microfect--which was essentially the essence of one's magic--written on a strange piece of near-translucent paper.
And sure, the other Views could impose their own magic on a spellslip, but the infinitesimal amount of magic Brian transferred made him more curious than wary.
Additionally, John had asked Freddie for a scale, and Roger for a spellvial--essentially the same thing as a spellslip, but in liquid form and far, far more volatile. Spellvials were unique to Oerris, but few ever used them. They tended to explode.
Brian made John promise that he wouldn't make anything explode, but John just laughed and said, "don't worry." It didn't exactly assuage Brian's fears.
It did get him to thinking about the creative ways one could combine various magics into something more powerful. Perhaps Vexxzus wasn't the "future of magic," as some mages in the discipline insisted. Perhaps the true potential of magic lay in its combination.
In any case, Brian mostly forgot about the gifted spellslip until one fateful day in the cafeteria.
Most Views tended to keep to their own tables, although Brian, Freddie, John, and Roger usually sat together anyway. It was a little odd for John to be apart from the other Vexxzuses; over the past few days, he'd gotten some glacial glares from his fellows. Even if other Views sometimes sat with their friends from other dormitories, the Vexxzuses almost never did.
Although John seemed to relish these glares. Odd.
"What're these?" Freddie asked, sitting down at the long table and indicating the cakes placed at even intervals. Most of them were already cut into, with many students already enjoying their portions.
"Don't know," Roger replied, his face covered in frosting. "Something the Vale did, I guess. Don't think it's a holiday. Maybe one of the teachers' birthdays?"
Brian shrugged to indicate his own ignorance. "They're at all the tables," he said.
"Maybe one of the staff is learning to bake," John suggested, with that same reckless smile he wore after his accident.
Before Brian could say anything, though, Roger said, "You know something."
John arched his eyebrows. "Oh, look. Brian's doing something."
"You're deflecting," Brian said. "Clearly. Besides, what I'm doing isn't nearly as interesting. I'm just making a list of books to look for on Weald Day."
"You know you can just send a Mailer Daemon to the Weald and they'll send you back what you need," Roger said. "That's how I got that anger management book for John."
John rolled his eyes. "Yes. It made wonderful kindling."
Brian blinked. "You didn't."
"He did! Thankfully..." Roger trailed off as he reached into his bag, pulling out a book titled Managing Your Rage, which he presented to John. "They were on discount, so I've got thirteen more. If this one falls into the fire somehow, or gets thrown into the spring, or flies off the roof of Vale Rest and into the foggy moors never-to-be-found-again, you just let me know." "Great," John growled.
"See?" Roger said. "It's already working. He hasn't turned me into a frog yet." "Yet." John smiled, then reached across the table to turn Brian's watch so he could see it. "You're about to find out what I've been doing," he said, then gave a surreptitious nod toward the gathered Vexxzuses.
Curious, Brian turned to watch. So did the others. "Any second," John said again. "And... Now." Not all the Vexxzuses, but a good number of them, jumped from their seats at the same time. Some of them were clutching their backsides or stomachs as they fled amid the confused stares of the other students. Some of them nearly fell over each other as they fought to escape, and most cried out in rather comical desperation. Laughter and cries of shock came from the hall just outside the cafeteria.
"One spellslip written on cake parchment," John said, "designed to cause a simultaneous magic effect. One spellvial of vanilla extract--sorry, Brian. It's an explosion, but probably not the kind you were expecting. And one of Freddie's scales, finely chopped, spelled with my own magic to carry the memory of sirensong. They won't know I did it, but they'll be wary of me for reasons they don't even understand."
Roger looked at the nearly-finished piece of cake on his plate.
"Oh, don't worry," John shrugged. "It was just for Vexxzus." Roger non-subtly pulled another couple copies of the anger management book out of his bag, and placed them in front of John.
John just smiled.
Brian couldn't help but be impressed.
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whimsicallyenchantedrose · 4 months ago
The Strongest Magic: Chapter 4--The Flaw in the Plan
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Hi everyone! Welcome to my first entry for the CS Neverland New Year!  I was so excited when I heard about this event, because who couldn’t use more Neverland fic in their lives?!  This story, as stated below in the summary, was the first OUAT fanfic (the first fanfic period) I ever wrote.  I wrote it before I was even on Tumblr or properly in the fandom, so it may be new to a lot of my followers.  This story has a prologue and 8 chapters.  I plan to post a new chapter every 2-3 days. (And the beauty of reposting an old story is that it’s already written, so there’s virtually no chance I’ll fall behind on my posting schedule.)  Thanks to the organizers and mods of @neverlandnewyear​​ for putting this event together! Also, huge thanks to @snowbellewells​​ for making the above cover art!
CS Genre: Neverland Canon Divergence (canon compliant through the end of 3x8)
Rating: T
Trigger warning: Not really?  I suppose you could say “major character death(s)”, but then it’s OUAT.  Death is kind of a relative term....
Summary: This was my very first ever fanfic.  Written back in 2014, just after 3x8 (the episode where Henry gave Pan his heart), this was my headcanon for the remainder of the Neverland arc. Shared for the CS Neverland New Year.  Pan has stolen Henry's heart, but all is not yet lost. Emma, the Charmings, Hook, Regina and Rumplestiltskin must defeat Pan within six hours or Henry will die. Pan discovers the heart of the truest believer doesn't contain the strongest magic of all. For that, he will need Emma's heart. When Hook realizes what Emma's planning, he makes a desperate plan to save her life.
Word Count: 2017
Other chapters:  Prologue 1 2 3 5 6 7 8
Tagging a few people who may be interested: @sailormew4​​ @annaamell​​ @flslp87​​ @emmateo26​​ @bethacaciakay​​ @ultraluckycatnd​​ @effulgentcolors​​, @ilovemesomekillianjones​​ @kat2609​​ @brooke-to-broch​​ @missgymgirl​​ @galadriel26​​ @the-lady-of-misthaven​​ @charmingturkeysandwich​​ @jennjenn615​​ @laschatzi​​ @kimmy46​​ @snowbellewells​​ @iamanneenigma​​ @daxx04​​ @nickillian​​ @a-rose-for-a-savior​​ @in-spirational​​ @gillie​​  @britishguyslover​​ @ginnyjinxedandhanshotritafirst​​ @kmomof4​​  @linda8084​​ @golfgirld​​ @captain-swan-coffee​​ @searchingwardrobes​​ @hollyethecurious​​ @laughswaytoomuch​​ @deathbycaptainswan​ @allyourdarlingswans​​ @killiarious​​ @winterbaby89​​ @facesiousbutton82​​ @therooksshiningknight​​, @lfh1226-linda​​​ @tiganasummertree​​ @jrob64
 Chapter 4: The Flaw in the Plan
Regina screamed and threw her ball of fire at a nearby tree. They had reached Pan's last known camp, but found it empty.
"If you wouldn't mind, your majesty," Rumplestiltskin sneered, "Don't start a conflagration right next to me." He waved his hand and the fire vanished.
"Oh I'm sorry, Rumple," she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm, "I'm just in a little bit of a hurry. You see my son will die any minute unless I rip his heart out of Peter Pan's smug body."
"It's going to be a little difficult for you to rip out his heart considering you don't even know where he is," Rumplestltskin retorted.
"Alright, enough," Prince Charming commanded with a downward wave of his hand. "Let's just deal with the problem at hand. Anybody know how we can find Pan?"
"As a matter of fact," Rumplestiltskin answered with a glare at Regina, "I can find him. If the evil queen had listened to me to begin with, we could be celebrating over Pan's dead body right this minute."
Regina turned her back on the group.
"You can find him?" Snow White asked eagerly, "How."
"With a simple blood tracking spell," Rumplestiltskin said vaguely. He was looking anywhere but at the people standing before him.
"A blood tracking spell?" Regina asked whirling to face him. "But that only works between blood relations!"
"As it turns out," Rumple answered, "there was one little thing about Peter Pan that I failed to tell you."
Prince Charming took a menacing step toward Rumplestiltskin. "And what exactly is that 'one thing'?"
"Peter Pan is none other than my cowardly scum-of-the-earth father," Rumplestiltskin bit out.
"Your father?" Snow and Regina exclaimed together.
"Yes," Rumplestiltskin answered, "though I'd like nothing better than to forget I ever met him."
"Wait," Regina commanded with a regal look at Rumplestiltskin, "Do you expect me to believe that you will help us destroy your own father?"
"After the living hell he put me through as a child, I'd like nothing better than to see him die a slow, painful death."
Prince Charming stared him down for a moment and then nodded. "Alright we'll use your blood tracking spell." The prince patted Pandora's Box. "But if you give me any reason, and I mean any reason to believe you're working against us you're headed right back in here."
Ten minutes later, the four of them stood just outside the perimeter of Pan's camp. The lost boys had a huge bonfire burning in the middle of the clearing and they danced around it to the music of Pan's pipes. The dance was punctuated by the occasional war whoop or celebratory shout.
"Alright," Charming whispered, "everybody clear on the plan?"
"Oh I don't know," Regina said with a sneer, "You only went over it about three hundred times. Can we get on with this? Time is quickly running out for my son."
"And if we botch this," Snow hissed back at Regina, "We may miss our only opportunity to get my grandson back! Charming's right. We have to make sure we do this right."
"Fine," Regina said, "For the three hundred and first time. I use magic to put the lost boys to sleep while Rumple and the Charmings take Pan by surprise."
"Right," Charming said. "On my count we put Operation Zebra into effect."
"Operation Zebra?" Regina scoffed, "You're kidding, right?"
Snow glared at her.
"One," Charming began, "two, three, NOW!"
Regina blew into her hand, and a moment later the lost boys began to crumple one by one. Simultaneously Snow and Charming rushed at Pan while Rumplestiltskin took slow purposeful steps in the boy's direction.
Regina rushed forward to join the others surrounding Pan. He had a wide, delighted smile on his face. Why was he smiling? Something was wrong. No sooner had the thought entered her head, than she heard stirring all around her. The lost boys were slowly getting to their feet, raising their weapons, and advancing on them. Regina's eyes widened.
"What's going on?" she asked in a small voice.
Pan shook his head and continued to grin at her. "Thanks to your son's heart, I'm now all powerful. It stands to reason I could extend some special protections to my loyal followers."
The boys were so close now she could reach out and touch the nearest one. Charming drew his sword and faced the boys, moving from side to side assessing the threat. Snow had an arrow notched and ready to fly at the slightest provocation. Rumplestiltskin stared Pan down with steely resolve.
"It's not your boys we're after," he said in a cold voice. "Give us my grandson's heart, and we'll be on our way."
"Now son," Pan replied, a special emphasis on the last word. "We both know that won't happen, and we both know you are too much of a coward to do anything about it."
With a feral growl, Rumplestiltskin rushed forward, his hands extended. It was the signal the lost boys needed, and they began to attack.
Regina conjured a ball of fire and hurled it at the nearest boy. He screamed and swatted at his smoldering clothes. An arrow flew to her right, and another boy fell to the ground, pinned by the shoulder. Charming was locked in an intense sword fight with one of the largest boys. Regina whirled and faced Pan, who was fiercely battling his son.
Rumplestiltskin hurled magic in the boy's direction, and Pan lazily knocked it aside. He wore a look of profound boredom. Regina threw a fireball at him just as Rumplestiltskin tossed another spell. Pan easily deflected both.
The battle went on and on. Shouts and cries of pain punctuate the humid night air.
Regina could tell the Charmings were hesitant to do real damage to the lost boys. They seemed to be merely playing defense. She rolled her eyes. Just what she needed; a pair of heroes who were too noble to get the job done. If they were to get Henry's heart back, she would have to do the job.
Regina turned back to Pan, just in time to see him advance on Snow White, a dagger raised high above her.
"Snow, look out," Regina shouted.
Charming whirled and thrust out with his sword. He caught Pan high on his dagger arm. The boy let out a grunt of pain and dropped his weapon. Blood began to pour from his wounded arm. Pan quickly looked up, bewilderment and even fear in his eyes.
"Fall back, boys!" he shouted.
The lost boys immediately dropped their weapons and ran into the dense heart of the forest. Regina lunged at Pan; he wasn't going to slip through their fingers, not this time! Her hands reached for his chest, but they closed over nothing but air. Pan had vanished.
Pan paced the forest clearing, his left hand holding a cloth to the wound on his right arm. What was going on? He was immortal, all powerful. He had the heart of the truest believer. He should be impervious to injury! If they could injure him, what else could they do? Something was wrong. Something was very wrong.
"Shadow!" he yelled into the humid air. Pan glanced toward Skull Rock. The pillar of light was still there protruding from the top of the rock, but it was dimmer. The light was definitely beginning to fade. What was going on?
"Shadow!" he yelled again, louder this time. A moment later a dark form swooped down and hovered just before him.
"Yes?" the shadow asked in a cold voice.
Pan took the dressing off his injured arm and pointed to the wound where blood had begun to pool as soon as the cloth was removed. The shadow made no comment.
"As you can see, I came off somewhat the worse in a scuffle with Henry's family." Pan said with a scowl.
"So it appears," the shadow mentioned.
Pan picked up a rock and threw it as hard as he could against a tree, uttering a string of profanities.
"I have the heart of the truest believer," he shouted at the shadow, "you told me it would make me immortal. And now look! I've been injured and my light is fading." He gestured toward the steadily weakening light at Skull Rock.
"It would appear I was wrong," the shadow mentioned calmly.
"What do you mean, you were wrong?" Pan spat, "Centuries I've been working toward getting this heart! Now I have it and you tell me you were wrong!"
"Yes," the shadow replied, "it would appear that true belief is not the strongest magic on this island."
"And," Pan answered sarcastically, "Just what might the 'strongest magic' on this island be?"
"Love," the shadow answered simply. "True, sacrificial love is the strongest magic in all the realms."
"Love?" Pan asked, raising his eyebrows. "Sappy sentimentality is stronger than belief?"
"I said nothing about 'sappy sentimentality'," the shadow answered. "When one person loves another person so fully, so completely that he would be willing to make any sacrifice for that person's good, the strongest magic of all is produced. Get the heart of someone who feels this true sacrificial love for another, and you will never be defeated or injured again."
Pan stared thoughtfully into space for a moment, then commented to himself, "Who on this island would fit the bill?"
"It seems to me," the shadow commented, "that the 'savior' would do just about anything to save her son."
"Yes," Pan smiled. "I think it's time I paid Emma Swan another visit."
 Note: Well, there you have it. In case you hadn't already guessed, the shadow just explained the story's title to you. The strongest magic in all the realms is true, sacrificial love. 
--Coming up next, Hook bolsters Emma's faith and confidence that all is not lost, Pan comes to Emma with a proposition: her heart for Henry's, and Hook overhears the conversation. Will Emma take the deal? What will Hook do with the knowledge he gleaned from the conversation?
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yourdeepestfathoms · 6 months ago
Her Monster (part one)
[Wing AU; Tour!verse]
A new and improved rewrite of a very old fic! Hopefully this one will be better than the past one! I’ve cleaned it up a lot because GOD there were so many tense shifts lol
EB belongs to @spooner7308!!
TW: Blood
Chapter One - Devils Don’t Fly
Sometimes bad things just happened to good people. Sometimes fate just has other plans for someone. In EB’s case, that was very much true.
Elizabeth Barton--or simply EB--had been missing for a year and two months. She was remembered for her biting wit, harsh retorts, and overabundance of sarcasm. It wasn’t easy to get along with her, but there were a select few who were close to her, and that’s why her disappearance hit as hard as it did.
By now, though, mostly everyone had moved on.
The funeral was an open casket with just photos and one of her beanies inside. It was hard to look at, painful even. The idea that she was still alive, since her body was never found, came about, but it had been dropped for awhile.
EB became a mere memory in the back of the cast’s mind.
But Joan was still hanging onto the memories that she was still there.
Jane told her she needed to move on, and she knew she did, but she just couldn’t. She couldn’t accept the fact that her friend was really gone, that there was no one around to affectionately call her a “weird little creature” or beat up the hybrid-hating racists that sometimes loudly complained at stagedoors. No more warm hugs from giant griffon vulture wings that seemed to envelope her entire body, no more late night flies because nobody else would humor her nocturnal nature, no more wordy retorts that always made her giggle no matter how awful she was feeling.
No more best friend.
It was November, now. Fall was coming into full bloom. It was Anne’s idea to go to the park on their day off, and everyone obliged, knowing that the trip would be a good chance to stretch their wings. Joan hadn’t wanted to go, but Kat had sternly said she needed some fresh air, as she became more and more reclusive ever since EB’s death (not death, not death, she’s not dead, she can’t be--) and rarely ever went out. But she branched off from the group to venture further into the forest, wanting to be alone.
It’s funny, she thought. She hated the fact that she was alone that EB was now gone, but she hated the company of other people. There was only one avian she wanted, and everyone was sure she wouldn’t ever be coming back.
Joan spread her wings to the slim slivers of sunlight leaking through the canopy of trees. She used to hate them, but EB said they made her interesting. But now she was back to hating them all over again.
Rustling snapped her out of her trance. Deer jumped out of the underbrush and rushed right past Joan, causing her to leap away and fall on her back. Her wings thrusted outwards in surprise, tail lashing. She rolled over, wincing slightly, then realized the odd behavior of the animals. Deer normally didn’t run towards an avian.
They ran away.
Joan stood up and brushed herself off, ruffling out her feathers to rid them of any dirt. She was still pondering why the deer were acting so weirdly when she heard it.
The squeaking.
Curious and concerned, she tiptoed forward and peeked through the brush. There, only a few feet away, was a doe lying in a pool of its own blood. Its stomach was ripped open, but it was still alive, like whatever had killed it wasn’t interested in eating at the moment. The sight made Joan’s veins turn icy in fear.
What did this?
When she found out, she wished she had just ran off with the rest of the herd.
Growling came to the left. A large, bulky creature emerged from its hiding spot in the trees, perching on a branch with long, curved talons. It had molted green skin and bug-like eyes. Multiple rows of teeth poked out of its maw, dripping with drool. The barb at the end of its tail was just as menacing as its seven-inch claws. When it noticed Joan, it exhaled a low hissing breath and buzzed its four insect wings.
A WingEater.
But that’s impossible! WingEaters shouldn’t exist anymore! Wasn’t the gene to activate the form dead or something?
Joan flung her wings open but it was too late; the monster was upon her. There was a terrible pain- everything went black when she hit that tree.
Joan woke up on the ground.
No-- Wait-- Waking up implied she was in a bed, at home, safe.
Joan came to.
She was lying face-down on the ground, mouth full of dirt. There was a metallic tang on her tongue- she was frothing red at the lips.
Joan lifted her head up and coughed out gritty clots of scarlet. She saw the WingEater hunched over a few feet away, distracted by something. This was her only chance to get away so she crawled. She crawled until she could finally force herself to stand up and run.
She staggered back towards the park. Someone screamed. Multiple people scream. Jane was covering her mouth in shock- but why? Maria was shielding Bessie’s eyes, Aragon had backed herself up into Kat’s arms, Anne looked like she was about to faint…
Joan’s knees were wobbling and her vision kept blurring with a blizzard of black. She couldn’t focus on anything. She attempted to speak, to ask what was wrong, but only blood flooded out. Deliriously, she dabbed her fingertips against her lips and stared in bewilderment when they came back red, like she was just now noticing her body violently ejecting its own fluids. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed Cleves, maybe Maggie, sprint somewhere- where was she going?
Joan couldn’t follow, couldn’t ask what was going on. Her legs gave out. She dropped into a pool of her own blood.
It wasn’t the deer that WingEater was eating.
The Flightless. That was what people who have lost their ability to fly were called. Almost as disgraceful as hybrids. That was what Joan was now sorted into.
The doctors spent six hours trying to stabilize Joan. Eventually, they got the bleeding to stop--it was a lot of blood for one body--and stitched up the gash, but nothing could bring back the wing that was ripped off.
Joan would never fly again.
When she woke up, she cried. Joan shivered and sobbed and had bad panic attacks. The anguish was blinding- the pain was worse. Even with the antibiotics, she was overwhelmed by white hot agony that seared up through her back, ripping her apart from the inside out.
Her world was crashing down.
She hadn’t realized the damage at first, apparently. She was in a severe state of shock when she came hobbling into the park, clothing drenched in her own blood. People who had witnessed it said she looked extremely dazed and completely out-of-it, unaware of the gore she was soaked in, unaware that her back was spitting like a spigot. She just kept asking herself why. Why her? Why did this have to happen to her? What did she ever do?
When she was released from the hospital, Joan went home and lay in her bed for six days. For six days she suffered. She didn’t eat, barely drank anything, and just about everything had to be forced down her throat.
Eventually, she recovered, but she didn’t get better. Not psychologically. That was why her new psychiatrist prescribed her antidepressants. She didn’t think they worked.
Still, she eventually forced herself to get up. Even when it felt like someone had just ripped out her spine and proceeded to beat her into a pulp with it, she hauled her body off to work.
Without her other wing, though, her balance was completely thrown off. She stumbled around like a giraffe with broken legs, unable to stay upright. Not to mention all the stares she got.
The one-winged fledgling was a freak.
The others did their best to ward off gawkers, but they couldn’t always be there. Not when kids plucked out her feathers or tried to touch the spot where her other wing used to be when she was at stagedoor or out near fans. Not when adults made snide remarks when they thought she couldn’t hear them. Not when other avians posted on social media about the Flightless hybrid in SIX.
The anger and despair from it all simmered inside of Joan.
After work one day, Joan avoided the other ladies in waiting and the queens. She felt delirious and achy and just wanted to be alone.
Guided by the evening light, Joan stumbled right into predator territory.
The WingEater came out of nowhere, ramming into Joan with the force of a charging bull and sending her sprawling across the ground. She tried to scamper away, but a powerful beak clamped down on her remaining wing and threw her into a tree. 
Joan was roughed up badly, so much so that she thought the WingEater that had taken her wing had come back for revenge. But that one had been a Cimex. This one was a very angry Avem.
It stood at a staggering eight feet tall, with choppy tail feathers and massive wings. Its plumage, sand-colored that faded to dark brown, was now smeared in her blood. Its narrow white head lacked feathers, rather having the fuzz that most vultures had, but that made its enraged expression even more clear to her.
The WingEater soon pinned her to the ground. A massive, bird-like foot that was tipped with razor sharp black talons pressed down on her chest with so much weight that she thought her ribs were cracking beneath the force. The beast opened its hooked beak around her neck, preparing to rip her throat out, and Joan sobbed, “Just do it.”
The beast’s jaws twitched, then it pulled back slightly. It looked down at Joan, bloody and sobbing beneath it.
  “Just kill me already!” Joan cried, tears streaming down her face. “Do it! Please! I-- I don’t even care. I don’t wanna be alive anymore.”
That did it.
Some humanity returned to those pitch black eyes. 
The WingEater dipped its head to Joan and gently began to lick one of her many wounds clean. Joan flinched, trying to squirm away, but the foot on top of her curled its claws around her and dragged her into the fluffy girth of the creature when it laid down. All she could do was look up at the sky and sob, letting the monster clean her of all the blood, though she was sure it was just trying to calm her down so she’ll be easier to eat. 
Goddesses, she wished EB was there.
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queen18xo · 6 months ago
The Cat And The Wolf
Chapter Three
Julian sat in his dilapidated chambers and finally gave in to his emotions, he quietly sniffled, tears silently rolling down his cheeks. Alone, Julian saw no point in wiping the tears from his cheeks, instead he allowed them to fall unimpeded. His cheeks were a bright blotchy red, the blue of his eyes brightened by the redness and the sheen of tears gathered at his waterline. It had been a little over a month since he lost his father but he hadn’t yet had a chance to mourn the man. Julian was always a sociable person, he loved people, and for the first time in his life he felt truly alone. 
It was common knowledge that Humans weren't a fan of Witchers, nor were they particularly fond of Elves, therefore Julian was entirely unliked by almost everyone he met. It was true that human Witchers received abuse of all types but none so much as Julian, who was often shunned by those of his own kind. Witchers saw him as an abomination, since after all, they were never meant to reproduce. Elves, although not outright hateful towards him, refused to accept him as one of them. Without his father, Julian had nowhere to belong. 
The door swung open and slammed against the stone wall violently, the already cracked frame to groan ,Julian startled, the abrupt shifting of his weight combined with the fragility of the aged bed sent him crashing to the floor in a pile of wood and bedding. Julian groaned in pain, wiping the tears from his eyes he lifted his head to meet Geralt’s almost sheepish golden gaze. His blue irises burned with indignation. 
"Sweet Melitele, you- You brute!" Julian screeched from his position on the ground, his bum luckily protected from the floor's ice-cold surface by his tattered and raggedy bedding. Julian's voice was gruff and hoarse when he spoke, wholly unlike his usual sweet, melodic tones. “Don't you know how to knock?”
"Julian, are you... Hmm... Are you okay?" Geralt bit out, his face twisted into an unflattering frown. His eyes flickered between looking at Julian with concern and looking anywhere else. 
Despite himself, a fond smile tugged at the previously downturned corners of Julian’s cherry red lips. His fingertips tingled with the need to soothe the furrow between the White Wolf's well-defined eyebrows. Geralt's large body filled the doorway, his broad shoulders brushed the wooden frame of the door, and his silver hair shimmered in the dying daylight. Julian was captivated by the sight, it was uncommon for a Witcher to be defined as beautiful, however Julian could use no other word to describe the man before him.
Julian watched with nervous anticipation as the Wolf’s hulking frame advanced on him, his thumping footsteps ringing out through the silence. Julian squinted up at the Witcher who now towered above him, his shadow obscuring his view of anything that wasn't Geralt. Geralt grunted and leaned down to offer Julian one of his sword calloused hands, Julian gave him a timid smile and slipped his dainty hand into the Wolf’s larger one. The Cat revelled in the warmth of the hand surrounding his, the way rough callouses pressed against his own roughened palms caused a warm heat flow through his veins. 
Julian gaped in astonishment as the Wolf pulled his dead weight up till he was standing, he stood chest to chest with Geralt, barely a hairsbreadth between their lips as Julian tilted his face up to meet Geralt's golden gaze. A subtle pink flush coated Julian's sculpted cheekbones as he blinked up at the larger man. Geralt's breath ghosted over his lips as their quiet huffs mingled in the small space between them. 
"Come on," Geralt growled lowly, almost threateningly, the tonal change sufficiently breaking what Julian had foolishly allowed himself to perceive as a moment. Geralt tugged impatiently on Julian's wrist causing the shorter man squeaked as he stumbled, his hand connecting with Geralt's firm chest in a poor attempt to right himself. "Can't you walk?" Geralt asked dryly, a hint of sarcasm colouring his tone as he addressed the Cat. 
"Why, my dear I had no idea you had a sense of humour," the Cat scoffed, a wry grin twisting on his lips. He reluctantly pulled his hand from the heat of Geralt's grip. Lowering himself into a mock bow, Julian gestured for the Wolf to lead. "After you dear Wolf." Julian looked up at Geralt through a fan of long black eyelashes. 
"Hmm," Geralt grunted, sweeping out of the room with an elegance and grace that should be impossible with his stature. Julain was forever amazed by the man; he'd barely been in the Wolve’s keep a day, and yet he was utterly taken with the eldest of the Wolf brothers. 
Once in the snow-covered courtyard of the keep, Geralt directed Julian to a chest of armour, the sheer quantity was astounding as the various pieces overflowed from the basket. "Something should fit you." Geralt's eyes scanned over his body sizing him up, Julian felt an uncomfortable urge to shield his smaller frame from Geralt's scrutiny. 
Once both Witchers were securely locked into medium armour, they moved over to where the Witchers stored their weaponry. Julian still had his two blades strapped tightly to the meat of his thighs, sufficiently hidden from view due to the length of his borrowed tunic. 
Julian jumped, staring up at Geralt with wide, startled eyes as one of the Witcher’s large palms brushed against the inside of his thigh. "You don't need that." Geralt murmured as he slid Julian's silver dagger from his sheath. The Cat sputtered words lost to him, his flesh still burning from the heat of Geralt's fingertips. 
Julian cleared his throat, a flush visible across his cheeks, as he ran his eyes over the row of swords hung before him. His eyes caught on Vesemir's seal, without thinking he reached for the sword, pulling it from where it hung against the wall. In his hands the blade was weightier than his own, but it was well balanced, and the hilt fit comfortably in his hand. A small smile formed on his lips as images of the many times this sword had laid beside his own, as well as his father’s over the many years the three had travelled together. 
"Ready?" Geralt turned away from the vast array of weaponry, instead making his way to the middle of the snowy courtyard. As Julian followed he caught three pairs of golden orbs fixed on himself and the White Wolf. He snorted, muttering to himself over the nosiness of the other Wolves. 
The two Witchers stood before each other, their faces steel masks of concentration. Julian's eyes gleamed dangerously in the dying sunlight as he and Geralt circled each other. The older Witcher moved steadily, waiting for Julian to strike. Julian pulled his steel dagger from its sheath, the dagger being his preferred weapon in any combat situation. 
Advancing on the Wolf, Julian slashed at Geralt with finesse, the sleek dagger carved at the air before his chest with well-timed flicks of Julian’s deceivingly dainty wrist. Geralt jumped to the left, spinning into an elegant pirouette to avoid the sharp steel dagger aimed at him. Julian spun in time to meet Geralt, steady on his feet he attacked with a renewed vigour. Geralt jumped out of the other Witcher’s reach, one of his fists connecting with the Cat's jaw as space grew between them. Julian growled, his startling blue eyes glinting dangerously in the winter sun. Geralt smirked maliciously back at the younger man. 
Julian spat, crimson blood dripping from his plump lips as he bared his abnormally sharp teeth threateningly at Geralt. "Not bad Wolf," The Cat Witcher sneered and used the back of his hand to wipe the remaining droplets of blood from his mouth. 
"Hmm, not bad yourself little one," the Wolf teased. Geralt smirked as he heard the deep threatening growl rumbling from the Cat's chest. Affronted, Julian threw himself at Geralt. The Wolf witcher skillfully cast Aard, sending the younger sprawling to the snow-covered cobblestones of Kaer Morhen’s courtyard. 
Julian winced as his back collided with the unforgiving ground. Baring his teeth once more he sprung to his feet, he regained his composure as he slowly advanced on Geralt, his feet sure beneath him despite the unfamiliar environment. Geralt stood begrudgingly impressed by the younger man's durability and adaptability, traits that were highly commendable amongst Witchers. 
Geralt pulled his steel sword from its sheath and raised it above his head in a glistening arc as the sun sparkled against its polished surface. Julian threw his dagger, the air whining as the steel blade sliced through it. Geralt's sword cut through the air, easily deflecting the airbourne dagger, the sleek blade clattering to the floor. Julian's sword hissed in the still winter air as it too was pulled from its sheath, the younger man brandishing it with a near-feral grin splitting his lips. 
The two witchers circled each other in a slowly tightening spiral, their swords glinting dangerously in the sun's warming rays. Julian attacked first with a high sweeping slice, the Wolf quick to meet his strike before the blow could land, an ear-piercing clang rang out across the desolate courtyard. The force behind Geralt's deflection effortlessly sent the sure-footed Cat stumbling back several steps. 
Geralt lowered his sword and watched as Julian advanced on him once more, his slow steps displaying his feline grace, the movements captivating and starkly different to the Wolf Witcher’s own movements. Julian tore the thick strip of chain mail from where it was wrapped precariously around his trim waist, with a flourish of his wrist he had the protective material spun around his forearm. 
With the chainmail tight around his forearm, Julian leapt, gliding effortlessly through the icy air between himself and the White Wolf. Julian's blade slid against Geralt's diagonal parry, the older Witcher spinning their swords in an effort to disarm the Cat. Julian's sword met his with a deafening clang, the two Witchers grunted, their faces flushed red with exertion, as their blades danced between their bodies. Julain sprung away, his sleek body soaring into the frigid air to attack the white-haired Witcher from above. Geralt swiftly lunged, catching the man in his descent, one of his large scarred hands wrapping around Julian's throat. He brought his sword up, the cold steel of it kissed the covered skin of his thigh as he slammed Julian into the snowy ground. 
The younger Witcher groaned in pain, back arching away from the frozen ground beneath him, his blue eyes glaring into Geralt's warm golden orbs as the Wolf held him in place. Julian rolled his eyes and grunted as he slapped the top of Geralt's hand, yielding the fight. The Wolf rose, the warmth of his body receding from Julian’s. Towering above the younger man, his large shadow engulfed Julian as he reached a hand out in offering to the other Witcher.  Heat burned in their iris' as Julian's delicate hand entwined itself with Geralt's own larger one, allowing the man to pull Julian to his feet, their chests heaving as their breaths mingled in the meagre space separating them. "Thank you" Julian whispered, his warm breath mixed with the cold air surrounding them to form puffs of white clouds. 
"I broke your bed," Geralt grumbled quietly. Julian laughed gently, his eyes sparkling with fondness as he stared disbelievingly at the man in front of him.  
"What the fuck?" Lambert asked loudly, a few steps away from them where he now stood accompanied by a sniggering Vesemir and a smiling Eskel. Lambert's face was twisted in disgust as he looked between his brother and Julian. 
Julian turned on him with a mocking smirk; he shivered slightly as his Geralt's large frame was no longer sheltering him from the cold wind.  "He fucked me straight through the frame," Julian stated, with no further explanation. 
Geralt's jaw dropped, a blush colouring his cheeks as he stared at the Cat. Lambert’s face morphed into a look of betrayal as he glared at Geralt, whose blush intensified under the scrutiny.
"Oh Julek, my dear boy I have missed your vulgar humour," Vesemir gasped out between fits of laughter. The Wolves turned to look at him incredulously, it finally dawned on them just how well their mentor knew the young Cat. "Geralt, since it appears to be your fault the boy doesn't have a bed he will share yours for tonight." Geralt hummed his agreement, his eyes flickering between Julian and Vesemir. 
Julian stepped forward embracing the eldest Wolf without a care for the three sets of eyes peering at them. Julian looked up at the man's aged face both their eyes clouded with emotions. Vesemir's hand came up to cup the Cat’s cheek. "You look so much like your father," Vesemir croaked, pulling the younger Witcher into a bone-crushing hug. 
"Now Geralt, Julek, go get cleaned up and off to bed, you two are making breakfast in the morning," Vesemir playfully smirked as he pushed Julian towards Geralt. The Cat slipped on the icy ground but just before he fell a corded arm wrapped around his waist, tugging him up firmly. He blushed fiercely as his back came into contact with a now-familiar chest, Geralt's arm curled protectively around Julian's waist. 
"Gross," Lambert muttered as he stormed away from the pair. Eskel and Vesemir trailed behind the hot-headed Witcher, both chuckled together as they walked. 
"Let's go," Geralt said. He pushed Julian away from himself, the icy air filling the gap where Geralt's torso had previously warmed his skin. Julian shook his head in disbelief; the Wolf was a strange mixture of hot and cold. Most people either liked him or they didn't, but when it came to Geralt, Julian was genuinely baffled as to which category the White Wolf fell into.
"As you wish, my dear," Julian murmured as he trailed behind Geralt, his mind a swirling mess of thoughts.
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harlot-of-oblivion · 7 months ago
Tales of Miss Fortune
It’s been awhile since you’ve heard a certain red devil callin’ but you soon find yourself fighting alongside Dante when trouble comes a knockin’. 
Here’s the rootin’ tootin’ spooky treat I’ve been promising for weeks! Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain, y’all! 🌹🤠🌹
Rated Explicit for: Vampire and DT Smut, Blood Drinking, and the usual violent demonic fighting with the addition of vampiric dusting. 
Chapter 1: Fallin’ for a Gun Street Girl
Some people believe that there’s life after death while others say it’s just an underwhelming ending. You used to think the latter until experiencing the cold embrace of death for yourself. Now, you know that there’s a way to live a life after death…just not in the way that most folks tend to envision, such as spending an eternity in heavenly paradise or burning in hell.
Death truly is a cruel mistress to the living, but to vampires such as yourself…let’s just say that you and death have been bedfellows for well over a century now.
And you would think that someone would change after being dead for as long as you have, and yet here you are…still hanging out at rowdy bars, observing small groups of people gathered around various tables from your usual spot in the corner. It feels like any other normal night; the cackling of drunk patrons and clinking of numerous bottles is like music to your ears. But you feel like there’s something missing…and you finally figure out what it is after catching yourself looking up with every swing of the front entrance for the past hour.
Dante is a no show…again.
Your eyes glance down at the empty chair sitting right next to you, wondering if he’s been busy since the last time you saw him or just plain avoiding you altogether. Neither of you made any plans to hook up after that night in his shop, so you aren’t really surprised by the lack of interest. Afterall, the Legendary Devil Hunter has better things to do than to hang around a dead woman…at least, that’s what you tell yourself while pushing him out of your thoughts.
But you quickly find that it’s easier said than done as your eyes dart towards the pool tables, shivering at the memory of your own game of strip pool with him. It was one of the most fun nights of your undead life…hell, you can’t even remember a time where you were that happy when you were alive! But you know that getting attached to mortals usually invites trouble, and you don’t want to be a burden for an exceptional mortal like the Son of Sparda himself.
I’m bettin’ it was just a one-time thing anyway, you surmise, tearing your eyes away from the pool table while kicking your feet up on the table. He’s probably found someone alive and a lot prettier than-
The sudden screams of terror just outside the bar brings your thought to screeching halt. The few patrons who aren’t shit faced drunk immediately notice the commotion before bolting towards the exit. You tip your hat up and tilt your head with interest, listening to the inhuman shrieks that ring out like a hellish choir while everyone else starts panicking. It only takes a few more seconds and a couple more guttural growls before everybody gets wise enough in their drunken stupor to start rushing out.
Almost all of the drunkards are gone when the front windows explode in spray of glass. A horde of demons come barreling through and instantly set their malevolent sights on the stragglers, raising their jagged blades and claws high in the air before moving in for the kill. But you prove to be a lot quicker on the draw with your guns as you shoot each demon in speedy succession, distracting them long enough for the rest of the patrons to get away and live for another day.
“Hoo wee!” you yowl as the horde turns their attention towards you still sitting in the corner with your legs propped up on the table. “I’ve never got a good look at you demons before…y’all look like the hindquarters of bad luck!” you admit with a small shrug while the ugly sons of bitches start closing in on you. “But that’s alright…” You kick your feet off of the table before using some of your vampiric strength to fling it towards the center of the group, knocking a few demons down with a splintering crack.
“Cos yer about to meet Miss Fortune herself!” you boast, cocking both of your guns before raising them up in a challenge.
The demons hiss and spit like a herd of angry cats while spreading out through the bar, ignoring the obvious gap you’ve created with the table. You’ve never tangled with fiendish entities before, but this tells you that these demons aren’t the brightest crayons in the box. Your lips curl into a cocky grin as you aim your trusty guns towards the first casualties of this hellish brawl.
“C’mon now! It ain’t good manners to keep a lady waitin’!”
Your final taunt pushes them to pounce at once, giving you an opening to dash through the gap you made in a blink of an eye. You run past the broken remains of the table before turning around and taking aim, boosting your speed with blood while taking the first of many more shots. Misery and Woe were custom made to handle supernatural entities, and it seems they do just fine on demonic threats judging by the guttural screams of pain. All of them drop dead one after the other in a satisfying spray of blood within seconds, standing no chance against your heightened sense of accuracy and deadly aim.
“Huh…well, that was easy,” you quietly quip while reloading your guns.
Another round of demonic howls echo just outside the now thoroughly trashed and bullet ridden bar. Your keen sense of hearing detects the rustling of fighting and some gunshots among the ruckus. Something deep down in your gut knows who it is that’s letting loose on them demons…and you can’t help feeling a little excited at the thought of seeing him again.
You quickly make your way outside, breaking the front door off its hinges as you zoom out of the bar. The familiar scent of blood greets your nose as you scan the numerous bodies of dead demons on the street. Your eyes shift from side to side, scanning the area for any sign of who may be responsible for this onslaught of pure and utter chaos.
“Howdy, Darlin’.”
Your instincts kick in as you swing around and point your guns at the devil of your desire. His cheeky smirk widens as he casually approaches, bringing back memories of the pool game you’ve been trying to forget for both of your sakes. You slowly lower your arms while shaking your head in disbelief before flashing him with a confident grin.
“Well, well…look who finally decided to grace me with his devilish presence!” you exclaim with just a hint of sarcasm. “It only took a horde of demons and some gunfire to summon ya, but now that you’re here…” You pause when more demonic screeches echo in the distance, turning your head to glance over your shoulder at the oncoming wave of demons before looking back at him with a toothy grin.
“Wanna have some fun, Cowboy?”
Dante chuckles as he stands next to you. “With you…always,” he replies with a flirty wink before brandishing a huge sword from out of nowhere.
Your heart would be fluttering at his words if it were still beating, but there’s no time to dwell on these cumbersome emotions with imminent danger around the corner. You tip your hat to him before raising your guns just as more demons come running down the street. Both of you keep your ground to the very last second until springing into action.
Dante sprints towards the oncoming horde while you hang back and spray them with a hail of bullets. You admire the sheer power behind every stroke of his blade from afar, yearning to feel his robust arms around you again while shooting down more and more demons. C’mon now…this ain’t no time to be droolin’ like a waterfall, you mentally berate yourself before honing all of your focus on the task at hand. It only takes a few minutes for both of you to mow down the majority of demons before he brings up the obvious with his laid-back yet direct flair.
“So, I uh…haven’t seen ya since that night at my shop.”
Your face falls flat as you lower your guns. “Really, Dante? You wanna get into it right now?”
“Seems as good as any other time,” he retorts with a shrug before cutting down the last demon left standing with a broad sweep of his sword.
“And I suppose you’ve been avoiding my usual haunt since then for no particular reason either, hmm?” you ask while gesturing towards the bar with your head before raising a brow at him.
“I’ve been busy with a couple jobs lately,” he explains, resting his sword on his shoulder while walking up to you. “And besides, you know where I live,” he points out with a nod of his head as he stands right in front of you. “I even left ya an open invitation so that you can freely enter the shop whenever you want, Darlin’.”
His striking blue eyes glow in the moonlight as he scans your face, longing to see them spark with desire again. Your head starts spinning as the scent of gunpowder and leather mixed with a little blood wafts under your nose. You want to tell him that you miss his rousing company, his rowdy laughter, his searing hot kisses…but your keen ears pick up the rustle of fast approaching steps just behind him.
You quickly step to the side and take aim before firing at the pissed off demon. He whips around with Ebony and Ivory at the ready, but you beat him to punch as the demon falls dead on the ground. “Ooh! Better luck next time, Cowboy,” you crow with a playful smirk while holstering your guns.
Dante lets out a soft bark of laughter while shaking his head. “Next time, huh? I really like the sound of that.”
You chuckle and bite your lower lip as your hunger for him begins to stir. “Me too. It’s just…I got the impression that you didn’t wanna…what I mean to say is-”
“It’s not customary for our kind to engage in such barbaric relations with mortals.”
Both of you swing around towards the source of the phantom response, guns pointed down a dark alleyway. You glare at a pair of vampires walking out of the shadows before fanning out as eight more reveal themselves while swiftly surrounding you. One of them tilts his head as he inspects Dante with a critical eye. Your heightened senses tell you that he must be the leader since his blood is the most potent out of all of them.
“But I suppose a hybrid such as yourself would be an exception.”
Dante chuckles softly. “Looks like we got some party crashers,” he casually comments while turning so that both of your backs are pressed together.
All of the vampires quietly laugh as their daunting stares pin both of you down like a pack of ravenous wolves. You glance down at the bloody street, noting that this is the first time you’ve encountered your own kind around these parts…which is odd since that’s exactly why you hangout around here to begin with. But now you can’t swing a damn lasso without roping one on the very same night of a random demon attack!
The more you think about it…the more it reeks of something fishy.
“All this your handy work, I presume?” you inquire, motioning to the carnage all around you with a flick of your wrists.  
The lead vampire smiles and turns to you. “In a manner of speaking…we simply pointed out that an infamous devil hunter frequents this very lively bar.”
Your eyes narrow at the implication of his words. “An ambush, huh?” You turn your head and meet Dante’s befuddled gaze. “Who’d you piss off this time?”
“Hell if I know,” he mutters while shrugging his shoulders.
You chortle at his carefree attitude and ready yourself for the challenging fight ahead. Dante turns and addresses the lead vampire with his disarming smirk. “We’re kinda in the middle of something, so if you could just-”
The vampire closest to the leader interrupts by loudly humming in delight. “No wonder our mistress sent us to collect such a delectable prize.”
Dante ignores the obvious attempt at flirtatious intimidation. “Well, I’m real flattered and all, but-”
Your feral growl grabs everybody’s attention as you make a show of flashing your fangs, warning everyone to back off before things get messy. “Ooooh! Looks like this one’s already been claimed,” another vampire chimes in before letting out a baleful cackle.  
“And here I thought we could talk this out like civilized kin,” the leader laments with a shake of his head.  
The lustful vampire laughs before inflaming your possessive fury by sauntering up closer. “Such a shame that someone as old and infamous as you would be meeting her Final Death over-”
It only takes one explosive round from Misery aimed straight at their mouth to shut them the fuck up. The redolent air instantly becomes hostile as that vampire crumples down on the street, helplessly twitching while the remaining vampires snarl and hiss with outrage. Dante summons his sword and crouches down into a ready stance while you cock your other gun.
“I ain’t one to repeat myself but lemme make it very fuckin’ clear for y’all,” you begin, slowly raising Woe at the first vampiric casualty of this unfortunate encounter. “If any of you worthless ticks so much as touch a white hair on his head…” You aim and pull the trigger, reducing them to a pile of smoldering ashes with the force of your second shot.
“I’ll have ya begging for mercy before sprinkling yer ashes all over this goddamn street.”
And with that one final warning, the leader raises a hand and signals the rest of his cohorts to attack. Dante springs into action while you stand your ground, waiting until they get close enough until the very last second. You turn into mist just as one vampire raises a hand to swipe at you with their vicious claws, sifting through their bodies and reforming right behind them.
The barrels of Misery and Woe glisten in the pale moonlight as you let loose a barrage of bullets at inhuman speed. Two more vampires turn into dust while another clutches the back of their wounded head as they drop to the ground. You reload your guns as quick as a flash and take aim to finish the job, but the only survivor of your sly tactic zooms by and slashes your shoulder.
You snarl as sharp pain shoots down your arm, distracting you from weaker prey and focusing your attention on the asshole who ruined your favorite leather jacket. This vampire is almost as fast as you, swinging his clawed fists with precision towards the few vital points of your body. But you prove to be not only faster but wilier as well, dodging every single one of his blows while leading him towards some burning debris in the street.
You feint to left before shifting right as soon as they’re close to the flames, purposely letting him puncture your shoulder while using a large portion of blood to boost your strength. Your jaw clenches tight, holding back your yelp of pain as he growls victoriously at their measly accomplishment. But the joke’s really on him as you holster one of your guns before extending your nails into razor sharp claws.
Your lips curl into a devious grin. “You must be feeling pretty lucky right about now,” you note, making sure he meets your unwavering gaze. “But lemme fill ya in on a little secret…”
You swiftly jab your hand up straight towards his chest, long claws striking true with their target as they pierce his lifeless heart. His face contorts with agonizing shock as you twist your wrist, burrowing deeper until the tip of your claws stab through his back. You easily lift him up off the ground before turning around towards the blazing fire.
“No one’s lucky so long as Miss Fortune’s in town.”  
You hurl him straight into the fire with one strong thrust, dislodging your claws from his chest before pulling your hat down in front of your eyes while turning away. The hot flash of flames lights up the night while tormented screams echo down the street, sending chills down your spine as you struggle to remain in control. Your feet move of their own accord away from the flaring threat, instinctually knowing that your quarry has met his Final Death.  
Your eyes zero in on your previous prey limping away from the fray. You dash right up them and stomp your foot on their back, keeping them still as you carefully aim for the killing shot. Your finger slowly squeezes the trigger, relishing in their pitiful plea for mercy before ending their miserable undead life. But you don’t have long to delight in the bloodbath as Dante’s harsh grunt meets your ears, bringing your attention back over to his side of the fight.
Multiple piles of ash now litter the street alongside demon corpses. Dante is engaged with the only vampire left, which happens to be the leader himself. You get ready for a real challenge by reloading your guns with explosive bullets, but all logical thought flies out the window when you witness this leech attempting to…bite…and feed…
Something in the darkest recesses of your mind snaps and you suddenly find yourself using more blood to boost your speed before hurtling towards the object of your ire. The leader senses your approach and tries to act accordingly, but Dante seizes the chance to turn around and swing his sword at him. The blade cuts a deep gash across the leader’s neck and a thick spray of blood spatters across Dante’s face as you close in on your target.  
“If a man is the sum of his misfortunes…” You stop just short of running into him and swiftly shove both barrels of Misery and Woe into his gaping mouth. “Then you’re one unlucky sonuvabitch,” you finish, enjoying the fear in his eyes as you pull both triggers.
You let out a satisfied growl as his undead brain gets blown to bits, smirking as his blood splatters across your face. He falls to his knees but the bastard refuses to meet his Final Death, still swiping his clawed hands around clumsily. But Dante swoops in and lops off his head with a single sweep of his sword before you can take aim with your guns.
The leader’s body crumbles to ash, leaving just the two of you in a sea of dusty carnage. You look at your devilish lover just as he turns his gaze towards you; both of you are covered in blood and still buzzing from the battle. Your keen hearing picks up his rapid breathing and heartbeat, which only stokes your flickering hunger into a blazing inferno.
“Dante,” you purr sensually while holstering your guns.
“Oh fuck,” he murmurs hoarsely before stalking over to you.  
You meet him halfway before both of you just pounce on each other. Dante wraps his arms around your waist while your hands encircle his neck before both of your lips crash down and meet in a desperately heady kiss. You moan as he slips his tongue past your fangs while the scent of leather and gunpowder drives you wild. Finally seeing him fight and absolutely covered in gore pushes you to indulge in what you’ve been secretly missing since that night at the shop.
And it seems Dante agrees since his hands grope your ass and urge you to jump into his embrace. You oblige and hop into arms, wrapping your legs around his waist while nibbling on his lower lip with your fangs. He groans softly and tears his mouth from your starving lips before turning his face away, baring his neck to you as he treks back towards the bar. Your predatory gaze hones in on the pulsating vein being kindly offered, swiftly leaning in and scraping your fangs against his skin before sinking in for a luscious feast.
Dante grunts at your bite but his hurried pace never slows as he arrives at the entrance of the bar. He steps over the broken door and heads to the closet surface that isn’t totally ripped to shreds: the fucking pool table. But you don’t even care to comment with wry quip with his deliciously smooth blood trickling down your throat…he could’ve fucked you right then and there on the street and you wouldn’t have cared so long as his crimson nectar was on your tongue.
You suck a few more greedy mouthfuls as he sets you down, taking note of his strategic position of facing the entrance before tearing away from his neck. He instantly captures your bloody red lips with his hungry mouth, swirling his tongue around your fangs as he clutches you tight against his body. You feel the pin prick of claws press against your hips before he tears your jeans along with your panties, shredding them off until you’re only wearing your cowboy boots below your waist.    
Your heightened sense of hearing catches the sound of approaching trouble a few meters outside of the bar. Dante notices too as he tears away from your lips and tilts his head towards the sound of approaching adversaries. His lips curl into a cheeky grin as he kneels down between your legs while reaching behind his back.
“Do me a favor and shoot down whatever comes our way while I take care of business down here,” he requests, brandishing both of his guns with a twirl before handing them over.
You take the guns just as a couple of demons come hurling through the shattered windows. “Sure thing, Cowboy,” you comply with a wicked grin.
Your hands swivel around and take aim while Dante dives in between in your legs, licking and sucking your wet cunt as you fire rapid shots at the encroaching demons. You gasp and moan between shots as he finds just the right spot, flicking and twirling his tongue while his nose rubs your clit in the most maddening way. This causes you to miss a few shots due to the delectable distraction down below, swearing up a storm with every errand bullet.
Dante silently chuckles at every curse word that flies from your mouth. “What’s the matter?” he pipes up between lavish licks, gazing up at you with a mischievous red gleam in his eyes. “I thought an infamous pistolero like yourself wouldn’t be so easily distracted!”
You hiss at his playful jeer while shooting down a demon that got really close to the pool table. “Less talkin’ and more lickin’, Cowboy,” you quip back, deciding that you would have better luck with your aim by switching positions. You clench your thighs around his head and swiftly turn your body around until you’re riding his face.
“Mmm, you’re gonna meet the devil at this rate, Darlin’,” he murmurs against your slit, nipping and sucking your folds before his tongue strokes even deeper inside you.
You feel like you’re floating away while shooting down the remainder of the demonic wave, twitching in pleasure until finally coming on his scruffy face with an ecstatic moan as you fully give into his devilish tongue. He greedily suckles every pulse of your cunt, slurping every drop of your pleasure as you fall against the soft green surface of the pool table. An intense heat emanates from his mouth as he slowly pulls away from in between your thighs, and you look over your shoulder to see a most wondrous and intimidating sight.  
A true devil with smoldering red scales and spikey plating is standing behind you, smirking with familiar lips while glowing red eyes roam your prone body. You’ve only heard rumors about his demonic form but to see it for yourself is truly astonishing…and incredibly arousing. You lift yourself up from the pool table with a soft grunt and shuck off your long leather jacket before leaning back down, making a show of spreading your legs nice and wide.
His gravelly growl sends pleasant tingles down your spine as you give him a good view of your ass and sopping wet cunt. You peek over your shoulder and flash him a naughty grin. “C’mon, Cowboy,” you purr while wiggling your hips provocatively. “Show me how a real devil rides in the rodeo.”
Dante chuckles huskily while grabbing your hips with his clawed hands. “Are ya ready, Darlin’?” he asks gruffly, wrapping one arm around your waist and pulling you up towards his crimson chest before pressing his lips close to your ear. “Cos I’m gonna have you screaming my name all night.”
You gasp as an unfamiliar length slides in between your slick thighs, surprising you with its unusual yet tantalizing texture. Your eyes glance down and catch a glimpse of his member as it glides against your slick slit, noting its reddish black color and thick ridges all around the shaft. You whimper at the thought of his devilish cock slipping inside you, stretching you out while filling you up to the brim…just the feel of it has your thighs clenching around him with anticipation.    
Sharp fangs nibbling on your ear breaks you out of your carnal daze. You thrust your hips back against him while reaching back to grab one of the long spikes protruding from his head. Another fiendish growl makes your body quiver as he turns your head to capture your lips with a searing hot kiss. He gently guides you to bend over the pool table, never breaking away from your wanton mouth while adjusting himself between your legs.
Dante slowly slides every inch of his ribbed cock inside you, pulling a pleased moan from your throat as his tongue licks one of your elongated fangs. You softly whine as he finally bottoms out, silently begging him to give you a taste before the imminent display of shameless debauchery. One corner of his mouth quirks into a smirk as he cuts the flat of tongue against your fang. You revel in the thick smokiness of his blood while his clawed hands rip your buttoned shirt open and slice your cotton bra between the cups before groping your breasts.
You ready yourself for one helluva ride…but both of you break away from each other’s lips as the clamor of more approaching demons meet your keen ears. Dante lets out an irritable growl while you reach for his guns still lying out on the pool table. You flip them around in a flashy fashion before presenting them with flourish above your head.                
“I believe it’s your turn to do the shootin’, Cowboy.”      
A sudden blast of blistering heat hits your back, almost blowing your gambler hat off as he gives your breasts one last squeeze before withdrawing with a teasing scrape across your nipples. He takes his trusty weapons from your grasp and points Ebony towards the entrance while resting Ivory just above your navel as he wraps his arm around your waist. You would be holding your breath if you still had the ability to breathe as he waits for trouble to come knocking, staying completely still until the very last moment…
Dante slowly pulls out, leaving only the tip inside you while the first wave of demons come crawling through the broken windows. Then, he slams his hips back against you with a sharp slap as he fires the first of many shots. You moan unabashedly as he sets a steady pace, pounding into you with brutal force while shooting down a stream of demons. It doesn’t take you long to reach your peak again, coming from the new sensation of his devilish cock while a barrage of bullets whiz through demonic skulls.
Your body falls limp against the pool table as Dante swings Ivory towards the back of the bar. He fires a rapid hail of bullets as more demons come through the back entrance while keeping his ruthless pace. The metallic ring of bullet casings bouncing off the hardwood floor keeps the insatiable flame of your desire burning as your hunger demands more blood and more pleasure.
You lift one of your legs up onto the pool table, resting your knee against the edge while propping yourself up on your arms. Then, you thrust your hips back to meet every hard pump of his cock, keening with every brush against your sweet spot as he buries himself even deeper inside you. Your ears pick up some faint cursing as some of his shots fly by a few encroaching targets.  
“What’s the matter?” you ask as he points Ebony towards the demons. “I thought an infamous devil hunter like yourself wouldn’t be so easily distracted,” you taunt, mirroring his exact words from earlier while looking over your shoulder and meeting his smoldering gaze.
Dante growls and quickly disposes of the remaining demons, wrapping both arms around you as soon as the last one disintegrates with a pitiful shriek. He pulls you up until your back meets his glowing red chest and picks up the pace, scaly hips slapping against your ass while his warm grunts puff against your cool skin. The slide of Ivory presses against your breast while the barrel of Ebony rests above the apex of your thighs, rubbing your clit with every hard thrust as he nuzzles the back of your head. You groan as intense pleasure starts to build up again, making you mumble incoherently while holding onto his arms with your bruising grip.                    
You tilt your head and bare your neck, hoping that he sees the invitation to partake of you. The exhilarating feel of sharp fangs nipping and grazing along the soft flesh you’ve exposed lets you know that he got the message. His guttural purr sends tiny tremors of delight throughout your body, making you ache for his bite as you rush towards rapturous release.
Dante drags his demonic tongue against your neck before sinking his fiendish fangs into your supple flesh. His name bursts from your lips as you tumble over the edge again, body shaking in his fervid embrace as he takes a couple swigs of your blood. “Mmm…fuck, I’ve missed the taste of you,” he groans against your neck, relentlessly thrusting through your orgasm and smacking his lips before going back for more.
The rustle of something unfurling knocks you out of the hazy aftershocks of your mind-numbing orgasm. You glance over your shoulder just as Dante spreads his demonic wings out wide. Their swirly red patterns hypnotizes you, pulsing with his heartbeat while gradually glowing brighter as he chases his own pleasure. You moan at the impressive display of power while leaning down against the pool table, silently encouraging him to fuck you with wild abandon by thrusting your ass back with enthusiastic fervor.
Dante drops both of his guns on the pool table and grips your hips with his wickedly sharp claws. His booming growl sends darts of pleasure straight down through your cunt as he pounds into you with renewed vigor. Your enraptured moans mingle with his gravelly growls as both of you come careening over the edge together among the blood and gore. You scream his name over and over while he cums in great spurts, slicking your cunt with his white-hot seed as the lewd squelching from his frenzied thrusts echo throughout the ruined bar.    
Both of you ride the pleasurable wave, gasping and writhing against each other to the very end. You collapse against the pool table while Dante leans over and rests atop your back, warming the crook of your neck with his panting breath. Your thighs twitch as his cum drips out from your sated sex, making you feel some carnal satisfaction deep within the primal recesses of your mind.
You let out a blissful sigh while leaning back to nuzzle his spiky head, softly purring as his warm lips press numerous kisses against your neck. You bask in this tender moment, giving into this feel of emotional closeness before the inevitable parting of your ways. But you don’t have time to dwell on that bittersweet notion as the familiar sense of dawn approaching washes over you.
Your entire being instantly reacts to the slow ascension of the sun, quaking in fear while wriggling out of the warm embrace of your devilish lover. “Whoa! Easy there,” he coos as you reach for your long leather jacket. “What’s the hurry, Darlin’?”
“The sun…I can feel it rising,” you explain, quickly slipping both of your arms through your jacket before buttoning it up. “I gotta go…but I dunno if I can make it to my sanctuary before…” you trail off, trembling at the thought of meeting your Final Death under the rays of the morning sun.
“You can stay at the shop if you want.”
His nonchalant offer gives you pause as your head snaps over your shoulder, noting that he’s reverted back to his human form. You think it over for a moment, weighing the pros and cons of taking him up on his gracious offer. “If you have a dark basement…or a way to block all sunlight from entering a vacant room,” you suggest, desperately hoping that he really means it since his place is a lot closer than the crypt that serves as your temporary home at the local cemetery.
Dante cups your face with both of his hands. “I won’t let anything happen to you during the day,” he swears while meeting your frantic gaze.
You stare into his striking blue eyes, searching for the slightest hint of deception among their depths…but the genuine gleam within his unwavering stare eases your worried mind. Your lips curve into a grateful smile while clasping his arm with one hand before tipping your hat in appreciation. “Then you better ride like the wind, Cowboy,” you murmur, swiftly bringing your face closer by raising yourself up on your tippy toes.
“Don’t wanna end up as a pile of ash before giving ya hell for ruining my one good pair of jeans,” you softly tease while nipping at his lips with your fangs.  
His breathy chuckle brushes against your face. “Didn’t hear ya complaining at the time…too busy having a drink on me,” he teases right back before capturing your lips with a scorching kiss, making you moan softly while both of your tongues gently glide across each other.
Your insatiable hunger starts to stir once more, but the nagging urge to seek shelter from the rising sun wrangles it back as you break away from his lips with a rueful sigh. Dante smirks knowingly as he reaches for his guns on the pool table, holstering them behind his back before leading you out of the destroyed bar. He summons Cavaliere while you hiss and turn away from the flashing light of false dawn.
“C’mon, Darlin’,” he murmurs, gently guiding you towards his fiendish ride.
You hop on and make yourself comfortable while he swings one leg over and sits down behind you. “Better hurry…I’m already…” you mumble, barely able to keep your eyes open while fighting off the familiar feel of falling into torpor.
“Don’t worry, I’ll carry ya into the shop and protect you during the day,” he whispers by your ear, wrapping one arm around your waist while his other hand revs the engine.    
“You have my word, Darlin’.”
Dante puts the pedal to metal with those final words of assurance, zooming down the street at breakneck speed towards the shop. Your lips curl into a fond smile as you do your best to hold on during the ride while fighting off the need to rest. But you know that’s a fool’s errand, so you close your eyes and leave yourself in the capable hands of your remarkable devil.
And as you finally succumb to the lull of torpor, you remind yourself that getting attached to Dante will only invite more trouble down the road…but you wouldn’t have it any other way. 
I’d like to thank @bettybattaglia for her wonderful suggestion about missing gun shots! And I gotta give a shout out to @varen-neoraven for beta reading for me!
Tagging: @drusoona @exsultry @a-midsummer-nights-odyssey @leviathan-dee
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danetobelieve · 7 months ago
Hail Mary || Marley and Winston
When: 20/10/2020 Who: @detectivedreameater & @danetobelieve Where: The Police Station Summary: Bloody Mary gets bloody annoying! Warnings: n/a  
Winston was once again working late. No surprises there. They found that the job was more time consuming then what they had been sold but they weren’t complaining. Keeping busy stopped them from worrying about … well everything. It was dark outside of the window of the breakroom as Winston slipped in to make themselves a hot drink that would keep them going. The mirror on the opposite wall to where Winston was stood held a slightly dirty visage of Winston and they weren’t completely thrilled with how exhausted they looked. Yawning, they scooped up a mug of coffee and turned at the sound of the door behind them opening. “Oh,” Winston flashed Marley a quick smile, “hey marley, are you doing okay? Working late?” 
Things had calmed down for a minute finally, but Marley found relaxing just wasn’t her style. There was still so much to do, so much to prepare for. Even with Tommy dead and Roy on his heels, they still needed to be careful. Methodical. Being home alone felt...strange. But Roy or any one of his other goons could come after them at any time, so staying with Anita also wasn’t an option. So it was the precinct, instead. Marley looked up from the file she’d been staring at for ten minutes and realized she’d zoned out, shaking her head. It was time for some more coffee. She grabbed her mug and headed for the break room-- everyone else, save for the nightshift boys downstairs, had gone home for the day long ago. So it was a surprise when she heard Winston’s voice, stopping in the breakroom doorway. “That’s Detective Stryder to you,” she said once she’d recuperated, frowning. But she wasn’t really mad and her voice reflected that. Winston was one of the only people here who she let see her soft side. They’d wormed their way in somehow. She gestured at them. “Alright, hand over the coffee. Quit hogging it.”
Laughing gently, Winston finished pouring their own coffee and added a generous helping of sugar to it. Something told them that they would need the sweetness to get through tonight. They still had to work out how to convince Agatha that the disappearing man on the footage hadn’t found some way of hacking all of the cameras or they had to accept that it was a losing fight and take matters into their own hands. Either way it was easier said then done. “Oh my apologies detective, I should’ve known better then to address you with your name.” The nice thing about not being the intern was that you could get away with a little more. Besides they had an understanding with Marley and their relationship was certainly better then it was with many of Winston’s other colleagues. “Here you go,” they said passing over the jug of coffee before turning to glance in the mirror once more, “you’re working late tonight, I didn’t realise you were on a shif-“ their sentence fell short as they caught sight of something in the mirror. 
“Thank you,” Marley quipped, rolling her eyes. The door shut behind her and she hardly even noticed. Made her way over towards them, taking the pot gratefully, ready to shoot back her lame excuse when Winston stopped mid-sentence. They were looking somewhere and Marley turned to look, too, but stopped short, coffee pot in hand. She froze. There was someone else in the mirror. “Don’t move,” she said to Winston in a low voice, slowly moving to set the pot down. She inched herself between them and the mirror-- the figure in the mirror-- hoping she hadn’t seen them yet. But in the next moment, hands were reaching through the glass. “Oh, shit!” she hissed, jumping back as a hand swiped for her. “Run!”
Freezing in place. Winston had learned enough in their time within the supernatural world to learn that sometimes you just did what you were told by other people who were more experienced then you. Marley was one of those people. For a moment there was nothing. Marley inches towards the mirror and Winston’s heart hammered in their chest. Then Marley jerked backwards. It was like something out of a surrealist painting and Winston couldn’t help the high pitched yelp that escaped their lips as they jerked backwards. “Oh fuck, what the hell!?!” Winston could feel the sweat beading on their forehead as they headed out of the door of the break room and into the deserted and dark hallway. “What- what the fuck?! Mirrors?! Are mirrors not safe now??” Winston was wondering just what was safe now as it felt like the list was growing much much shorter as time plodded on. 
Marley followed Winston out quickly. She slammed the door shut behind them and held it in place for a moment. Whatever that thing was, she hoped it couldn’t phase through walls. Glancing back at Winson, she tried to stay calm for a moment, wracking her brain for knowledge of any creature she knew that traveled through mirrors. Too bad she couldn’t think of one. “Fuck if I kno--” she started, but was cut off mid sentence when a cold, slimy hand wrapped around her wrist. Her head swiveled quickly back to the door, expecting to see it open, or perhaps the hand coming through it or under it or something-- but instead, she saw that same woman, now reflected in the breakroom door’s window. Marley’s instincts kicked in and she turned intangible, yanking her hand away through the gnarled woman’s, stumbling backwards. “That’s not normal!” she breathed, putting her arm out and shoving Winston down the hallway. “Keep running!”
Yelping again as a hand that almost seemed to be dripping with damp wrapped around Marley’s wrist, Winston was about to try and help when Marley seemed to just phase through the hand. That was something that they would discuss later. Who knew that Marley could quite literally ghost you? Stumbling slightly as she shoved them further down the hallway, Winston wracked their brain trying to think of what the fuck this could be. The truth was that there really wasn’t that much that would explain this. They hadn’t heard of anything that would do this. “It’s definitely not fucking normal,” Winston said as they sprinted away from the door and into the now deserted bullpen of the precinct. How was she managing to reach them out of glass? It was weird, it didn’t make any sense that she could just appear in glass. What even was she. “Have you upset something that lives in glass?” Winston’s brain was racing, trying to solve this problem before it got worse. “I think, I think we’re okay.” They turned and reached over to scoop up a tablet that was sat on one of the desks, hoping that the internet would have something to offer. As they did they spotted the reflection of the woman once more, she reached out of the reflective surface of the tablet and grasped past Winston, swiping at Marley.
“You know, I generally upset a lot of people,” Marley huffed as they ran, making sure to keep herself close to Winston in case the crazy mirror lady popped out of nowhere again. “But I usually try to avoid pissing off crazy mirror women!” Each window showed their reflections, and Marley felt the hair on the back of her neck prickling, arms tingling. “We need to get back to the bullpen, I need my weapon.” As the skirted around the corner, Marley came to a stop, realizing that, perhaps, this was a mistake. How many reflective surfaces were there in the bullpen? Too many. Way too many. Winston made a grab for the tablet and Marley reached out to stop them, too little, too late. “Winston, no--” the clawed hand grabbed her wrist once more and yanked. Marley stumbled forward, shoving Winston away, and watched in muted horror as her hand disappeared into the tablet surface. “What the fuck!” she shouted, dropping the thing-- and her arm went with it, as if stuck inside. She turned herself intangible again, but her wrist remained stuck. “Get it OFF!” she shouted stepping on the thing and yanking. “Get it the fuck off!”
“What is it about crazy mirror women that makes you prioritise not pissing them off?” Winston was sure that the sarcasm wasn’t helping but defence mechanisms weren’t exactly made to be helpful. Weapons sounded like a good idea although Winston wasn’t sure what good it was going to do against reflections but there was a reason that Marley was the fighter and not Winston. Winston however realised their mistake too late. “Fuck fuck fuck fuck.” That was all Winston could think to say as a slimey hand reached out of the tablet and pulled Marley’s wrist into the tablet. Marley seemed to be struggling to get out but whatever it was that she was trying to do Winston could see that out wasn’t working. Fortunately it was tech, this was tech. Winston knew tech. Winston lived and breathed tech. They could do something about this, of that they were completely sure. “This is probably going to hurt and I’m really sorry about that,” reaching out Winston willed a pulse of magic through the tablet, they weren’t sure if this would work but they were hoping that whatever it was gripping Marley’s wrist would be forced to let go. Wrapping their hands underneath Marley’s armpits Winston hauled hard and pulled hoping that Marley would’ve been dislodged. 
“I just don’t want them ruining my good looks,” Marley said back, though her voice was strained. Her arm was inching further and further into the tablet and she really didn’t want to think about what might happen if it reached her shoulder. “Just do it!” she growled when Winston proclaimed what they were about to do might hurt-- because whatever it was, it wouldn’t actually hurt her. Not at night. The pulse went through and up her arm and into her head, before shooting down her spine with a jolt and she tugged, feeling Winston grab her and pull as well. With one large heave, her foot braced against the tablet, her arm came free and the two went toppling backwards, crashing into a desk. Marley shook her head of the daze, reaching out and grabbing Winston, hauling them up. “We’re leaving,” she called out, shoving them towards the stairs, “get in the stairwell! There’s no reflections in there!” She could process later that whoever this women was, she could touch Marley at night, and whoever she was, she didn’t seem interested in Winston. That was probably a good thing. Marley didn’t feel much like having to protect a kid again. 
“Let’s hope that won’t be a risk,” Winston grunted as they hauled Marley free from the tablet before crashing backwards into a desk. A dull pain lanced through Winston’s back as the desk collided with their shoulder blades.  Groaning, Winston was about to disentangle themself from Marley but she was already pulling them off the ground and pushing them towards the exit. Despite the ache of their recent collision with furniture, Winston knew that there was some sound logic in heading for an area with no reflections. Maybe they would be safe there. Though Winston wasn’t sure if this was something that they would be able to wait out or if they were going to have to undertake some form of action to try and keep them safe. Either way they weren’t sure that they wanted to find out either option. Something told them that waiting this out might not help. Panting, Winston wiped sweat off their brow after they had pressed the door to the stair way closed. “What. The. Fuck?” 
Marley collapsed into the hallway, pressing her back up against the door even as Winston threw it closed, leaning her head back against the cool metal panel. Every noise echoed so loud in the stairwell, but they had recently painted the railings matte and the walls were brick. She turned her head to look at Winston, still panting slightly. “Yeah, I was just about to ask you that,” she exhaled, running a hand through her hair. She moved away from the door finally and glanced around, double checking. “You’re the wizard here, and that was definitely some crazy ass magic shit.” She held up her arm, checking it, pulling the sleeve down-- but there was nothing strange about it. Just the marks from Morgan that were slowly healing and normal skin. She looked over at Winston and gave them a morbid half-grin. “Think she’s just collecting hot women cause she’s lonely?”
“I don’t have any answers,” Winston had been trying to think of what the fuck that could possibly be and had not come up with anything, “I’ve never come across anything that fucks with reflections, well apart from this weird hall of mirrors but that just pulled me into a mirror realm and it was more like the mirror itself was magic rather then something literally pulled me into it.” Winston sighed gently and shrugged. “I prefer the term spellcaster but fine, wizard, whatever, crazy magic shit or not I have never ever met something that could do that before and if it can just pluck people out of thin air whenever they go past a reflective surface….” Winston had to admit that they had no clue why it was targeting Marley. “Somehow your attractiveness or how perceived to be attractive you are doesn’t seem to be what would make you a target, but I don’t know for sure, who can tell for certain.” Winston chewed on their lip. “Besides, it’s not like you really want to spend the time with her there.” Winston pulled out their phone and tapped in a few searches to do with mirrors. Gulping at the result. “I’m only getting one repeated result here and I really don’t think it can be right. Of all the things that I expected to be a tale, well the only thing I’m getting is bloody mary….” 
“It was a joke, kid,” Marley said, exasperated. She huffed, stepping away from the door, glancing around. How were they going to get out of this? Winston was talking, but Marley wasn’t really listening to them. She needed to figure out how to get them out of here, because it wasn’t like they could just stay in this stairwell forever. Perhaps she could call someone to come cover some of the windows in the main hall so they could run out, but phones had reflective screens, and pulling one out would be-- “Hey! Woah, put that away!” she shouted, slapping the phone from Winston’s hands and shoving it in her pocket. “Screens, kid!” she gestured wildly, running a hand through her hair. “Phone screens are reflective and I don’t think I’ll fit into a phone if she tries to drag me in again.” She then looked over at WInston again, rubbing her head. “Okay, seriously? Bloody Mary? That can’t be right.”
“Okay well I make the jokes and you’re the competent person that stops us from getting killed…” Winston would’ve laughed but there was a bit much on their plate. Winston bit their tongue, doing their best not to chastise Marley for slapping their phone from their hand. “That’s expensive, you don’t slap phones. Is this why all of the tech that we give to the detectives and officers always comes back looking like it’s been put through the laundry?” Winston was pretty sure that some of the time it actually went through the laundry. Frowning gently, they wracked their head. Not being able to use anything that had a reflective surface was … not great. “I guess if it would happen anywhere then it would be here, the real question, at least the real one that I want answering is …. Well why is … Bloody Mary after you exactly?” Winston tried to remember who Bloody Mary was, the problem was that she was so remarkably vague and so very shrouded in folklore and superstition that Winston wasn’t sure that they’d ever heard an account of the tale of Bloody Mary that made sense on more then a single occasion. “
“Hey, my jokes are funny,” Marley said, frowning. She paced through the stairwell again, looking it up and down. There was no point going to the roof, but did they risk heading downstairs and into the lobby? “You know, it could be that our job is demanding and sometimes we get into physical altercations, but sure, laundry,” she grumbled, rolling her eyes. “Phones are replaceable, relax.” People, however, were not. She looked back at Winston, giving a pause. They were mumbling about Bloody Mary and why she was here and why she was after Marley, but it didn’t really matter to her. She’d been chased by a demon, what was some stupid mirror ghost compared to that? She rolled her shoulders. “How about we ask those questions once we’re out of here and away from her?” she said, heading down the stairs, “C’mon, we’re gonna have to just make a break for it. If we go through the lobby, there’s only the exterior windows and the one computer screen we have to worry about. I think if we stay low and move quickly, we can make it outside.” 
Winston bit their tongue from making another snide remark. It probably wasn’t going to make things better and there was only so much ‘humour as a defense mechanism’ that could be excused. “I am sure that some of the reasons are that your job is demanding and you find yourself in physical altercations, but the truth is that I’ve found one too many pairs of headsets that have definitely got excessive water damage and look like someone forgot to take them out of their pants before they washed them.” Sighing gently, Winston was about to say that the phone might be replaceable but that was no reason to treat it badly, but again decided better of it. “You think that we can make it outside?” Winston was chewing on their lip, they wondered if there was something that they could do that would prevent the surfaces from being reflective. “I’m sure I could work out or design a spell that would prevent the surfaces from you know, reflecting, it’d only take me like thirteen maybe fourteen hours tops…” something told Winston however that Marley wasn’t going to go for that. 
“Well, I don’t do that, so don’t look at me,” Marley shrugged, “i don’t know, ask Greg. He seems like the kind of person to do that.” She glanced back at Winston, already halfway down the stairs. “Are you serious? You wanna hole up here for that long? What happens if she gets in somehow? What happens if you get hungry or have to go to the bathroom or you get hurt? We can’t afford to wait. We need to get to a car, cover the mirrors, and get out of here. Who knows, maybe she even left. Gave up on us cause she can’t get to us.” As if they would be so lucky in this town, but Marley wasn’t willing to hedge a bet on that. “Once we’re out, you can figure out a spell. Alright?”
“I wasn’t blaming you, but you know… what’s the saying … if the shoe fits right?” Raising an eyebrow gently, Winston decided to drop it. This probably wasn’t worth the fight that it required. “I mean, I just know that it is the…” Winston swallowed, perhaps now was the time for courage and not for caution. “Okay, okay, you’re right, let’s go and sneak out of here and hope that we don’t get caught by this terrible … thing. Flexing their fingers Winston looked left and then right as they cracked the door to the stairwell open. “Okay, well I can’t see anything so let’s go.” They pushed it open just wide enough for them to slip out and then in a low crouched position Winston began to creep out of the staircase. Heading towards the lobby, Winston prayed that they weren’t going to get caught. “Thirteen or fourteen hours was kind of conservative anyway.” They whispered as they headed past the first of their obstacles, a very nice looking window that overlooked the carpark. 
Marley nearly rolled her eyes, following the kid out, keeping low. “Gee, really building my confidence here,” she mumbled quietly. Kept her eyes on each place she thought a reflection might show up, hoping she was right and the ghost was going to leave them alone. Bloody Mary. Ugh. That was going to be shitty if it was true, if she was real. They were nearly to the front doors when Marley felt a chill. She barely had time to glance back over her shoulder before hands reached around her neck and pulled. “Fuck, Wins--” she tried to call out, tried to turn intangible as fast as she could, but before she knew it, her head and shoulders were swallowed by the glass window. The figure-- Bloody Mary-- still had such a tight grip on her neck, Marley could barely breathe. She jerked, trying to yank away. The world around her shimmered with a distorted wave, rippling out. She felt as if her lungs were filling with ice. Whatever this place was, it wasn’t good. She pulled back hard, planting her hands firmly on the window sill, pulling harder. 
It all happened too fast for Winston to really do that much. They swallowed in fear as they saw Marley get yanked through the window and knew that this time there was little to no chance that they would be able to pull her free. There was just too much reflective surface and she was already halfway in. Trying to breathe, they focussed on the window, focussed on the reflective surface before extending their consciousness out from them and into the glass. Muttering a few words of an incantation, they waited for a moment. For a second they saw the glass ripple before it wobbled and ejected Marley from the window. Panting, sweat beaded their brow but Winston wasn’t done, cracking the glass, they watched it shatter and forced it to evaporate into as many tiny pieces as they could possibly manage. There wasn’t much more they could do until they could study this thing further. Rushing forward, they pulled Marley to their feet and out of the building getting as far away from any reflective surface that they could see. “You okay?” they panted.
Marley gasped heavily, sucking in a large breath when her body broke free from the glass, pulled by some otherworldly force out. Magic, she supposed, as she fell to the ground and saw Winston muttering something. Before she could say anything, a loud crack rang through the hallway as the window shattered into a million tiny pieces, evaporating away. Shit, that sure was handy. Hands above her head to try and cover her face, Marley moved stiffly, only to be yanked up by Winston. What a strange turn of events. They sped into the parking lot as fast as possible, away from the building, before they finally stopped, panting for breath. “Oh, yeah,” she exhaled, giving them a thumbs up, “peachy keen. Love being choked out.” 
As they moved away from the police building, Winston prayed that they would be able to get to the CCTV footage and deal with it in time. After all this would look very questionable if anyone not in the supernatural loop were to see it. “I’m not going to kink shame you but I didn’t think that you’d get that much of a kick out of a near death experience, but each to their own I guess.” Winston couldn’t help the smile as they looked around them at the mess they’d made. Captain Maynard would be very pleased.
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writerzuniverse · 8 months ago
Northern Lights
Characters: Madaline North (OC), Izuku Midoriya, Katsuki Bakugou, Koushi Sugawara, Daichi Sawamura, Keishin Ukai, Makoto Shimada, Yusuke Takinoue, Asahi Azumane, Yuu Nishinoya, Chikara Ennoshita, Ryuunosuke Tanaka, Kinnoshita (mentioned), Narita (mentioned)
Chapter Title*: if someone wakes me up one more time, they’ll be found in the dumpster
Warnings: Violence (non-graphic)*, Name-calling, A little bit of angst but not much. If you spot anything else, please tell me!
[NOTE: Normal is Japanese and Bold is Spanish]
Quiet beeping jumped her out of her thoughts, making Madaline turn on her side to look at the phone-esque gadget. Sighing at the screen, she grabbed her hoodie and brown combat boots and left, keys and the gadget in her hand.
One day, that’s all I want. An aurora* fox trotted along next to her silently, looking around at his fellow spirits as they followed her as well. The dot on the gadget (called the Celestial Detection Phone, or CDP for short) was in an alleyway, thankfully. Turning into the said alley, the blonde immediately hid behind a dumpster, seeing a group of thugs trying to tug the poor spirit out from its hiding place.
“C’mon, you little shit, we just want to know what you look like.” A scowl grew on her face at their words. There were three, I believe. Taking out her collapsible staff, Madaline spun around the corner of the dumpster she was hiding behind and threw it like a javelin. It hit the side of one guy’s head, and by the time the trio looked over, there was a stumbling blonde in front of them, swinging yet another staff into their stomachs. They ran away like little bitches.
“I hope they don’t report you.” The kind girl held out her hand, waiting for the animal to come out. “It’s okay, I won’t hurt you.” The porcupine, who looked way too small for an adult, crawled out shivering. “Oh no, you must’ve died young.” Madaline frowned, then smiled weakly. “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you.” The baby porcupine, currently completely white, climbed up on her hand, nuzzling her fingers. Madaline closed her green eyes, taming the baby, making it turn an aurora color.
It cooed ‘smiling’ up at its new owner. She smiled back, putting him on her shoulder. Walking down the alleyway to leave, she checked the time. 5:53 am already? Pouting, she felt the porcupine climb up to her head. Putting her headphones in so as to not look like a lunatic, she continued her way down to her home to get ready for school. “What should I call you?” The animal on her head cooed again. “I’ll call you Tiny, then.” Her other Celestials joined the duo, excited to have a baby among the group. Hera, a black panther spirit, beckoned Tiny to go onto her back, to which he complied, snuggling into her coat. The fox from before climbed up onto his owner’s shoulders.
“What do I need to do today, again?” Rolling her right sleeve up, she read the writing.
Don’t forget to update the Celestial files
Nodding to herself, Madaline walked into her home, dropped Felix off and got ready for school. I also have the reminders on my phone.
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I have a few assignments due today, I also need to talk to Midoriya about his workout routine. The green haired boy’s visage appeared in her mind as she brushed her teeth. He obviously became stronger, it’s a wonder how nobody else saw it. After putting on her black Converse and grabbing her satchel, she paused at the doorway, groaning as she doubled back to grab her lunch. I hope I’m not forgetting something.
Once again, the class was too rowdy and loud, making Madaline turn up her music and continue to read her book, masking her presence even more. This is how it usually went, she would ignore most of her classmates, and they would ignore her. By the time they left, her ears were still ringing from their chatter. Getting up, she knocked on Midoriya’s desk, smiling at him when he looked up skittishly.
“Hey, Midoriya-kun.”
“N-North-san!” The fellow freckled boy screamed, making her flinch at his volume. “Sorry.”
“It’s fine, I was just wondering what’s your workout routine?” The blonde tilted her head.
“Oh, I just found it online, I thought it would be useful for Yuuei.” Izuku stuttered out.
“Ah, alright, thanks!” She cheered, jogging out.
“Hey, spirit bitch, what did Deku tell you?” A familiar bomb quirked boy growled behind her.
“Why should I tell you of all people?” Madaline hissed back, turning around to look at Bakugou, eyes narrowed.
“Because I can make your fucking life a living hell.” The ash blonde suggested.
“What a coincidence, so can I.” The sarcasm seemed to throw him off. The duo stared at each other, in a temporary standoff.
“I heard you’re going to do homeschooling after this year.” Bakugou finally spoke.
“Wow, you spoke a sentence without cussing!” She tried to avoid the topic by using sarcasm.
“I’m taking that as a fucking yes.” He grumbled, brushing past the short girl. “Just stay out of my way, spirit bitch.”
Madaline just watched as he left before leaving herself. Geez, he acts as if the world is out to get him, the pompous fucker. She huffed, her hands tightening around the satchel straps, letting a cat spirit rub against her, taking away most of her frustration.
As she walked towards The Elemental Crows’ Hero Agency, she kept a hand on her CDP, waiting for a notification to interrupt her calm walk. Nothing, thankfully. Getting her ID out, she scanned it as she walked in, immediately being greeted by a few sidekicks and interns, sending her own greeting back, she called through the agency. “I’m here!” More sidekicks and interns smiled at the teen’s antics.
Calmly walking up the wide stairs to the elevator, she called to a friend of hers, who was an intern. “Hey, Suga, are any of the Crows here?”
“I think Mizu, Fire, and Chikyu are here. I can text them if you want.” The kind senpai answered.
“Nah, I want my entrance to be a surprise.” The duo laughed then said goodbye to each other. Daichi walked out the elevator as she went in, they shared a high-five. After she walked back out, now on the top floor where the heroes that own the building and their interns offices are, Madaline trotted right upto the door with a flame that had crow wings sprouting from it, hearing the three heroes Suga talked about. Knocking, the blonde waited.
“Yes?” A gruff man with piercings answered the door, only to get a tick mark when he saw who it was. “And where the hell have you been?!”
Ukai roughly placed his hand on her head, rubbing. “Hey, watch the hair! I was at school y’know!”
“Keishin, stop teasing the poor girl.” Takinoue finally stepped in, smiling as he hugged her.
“Yeah, Keishin, she’s a third year now, remember?” Shimada threw his two cents in.
“Hmph, I guess I’ll let it slide.” The trio of heroes looked at the newcomer, a small, aurora porcupine. “A new Celestial, huh?”
“It’s cute!” Shimada cheered petting the happy animal.
“Yep, meet Tiny.” The men deadpanned, making Madaline pout.
“Has it’s quirk appeared yet?” Takinoue held his hand out for Tiny to climb on.
“No, but it’ll take a while to show, I believe he died when he was three or early four.” The freckled girl smiled mimicking the baby’s coo.
“Alright, you know where your lab is, go on.” Ukai gestured for her to leave. “Oh, and can you check on Asahi real quick? We gave him a lot of paperwork.”
“Yeah, totally!” Letting Tiny come back to her, Madaline jogged off, going to the office down the hall and to the right with two theater masks, one looking scared, the other being transparent. “Asa-kun! Can I come in?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah, come on in North-chan.” A soft but deep voice answered.
“I’m going to make some drinks after work, do you want something?” The green eyed girl peeked in, her bright eyes meeting his timid look.
“Can I get some peach tea if it’s not too much?” He looked back down at his work, a pile of paperwork next to him.
“It’s not, do you need help with work?” Madaline sat in the seat in front of him, grabbing a pen.
“No, I can do it on my own, thank you though.” The brunet smiled at her focused look. Cute. He went back to work, the girl’s almost non-existent presence calming him. He frowned, remembering the fight he had with Nishinoya earlier that month.
“It’s not your fault, you know.” Madaline spoke, writing peach tea just below her list of things to do. “The loss and the fight. Many heroes have lost battles, don’t let it define you, okay?”
Asahi was silent for a few minutes, the words getting soaked in his heart. “Alright.” He looked at his letter of resignation. Looks like I’m staying a hero. He went to shred it, but the short girl already grabbed it.
“Give this to Noya, he would love to burn this.” The duo laughed.
“You’d be a great hero.” Asahi grabbed the paper, getting up from his desk to go to the elevator.
“Nah, I have animals to take care of.” A frown bit at her lips, but she brushed it off.
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“They’re in the meeting room, and I’m coming with you to take pictures!”
“It’s not to get out of work, is it?” They got in the elevator as they spoke.
“No!” A few seconds later, she was running out the elevator to throw up aurora colored mist. “Yes.” Madaline pouted.
“Okay, you can come with, but we are going to watch over you, alright?” Asahi chuckled.
“Fine.” They walked into the Senshi Unit: Karasuno ‘meeting’ room. Everyone was, surprisingly, there.
“Heyo, everyone!” Madaline smiled, speeding up so she could Will Smith meme Asahi. He only covered his face with the paper, as everyone stood silently.
“Um, Nishinoya, wanna burn this?” Everything was silent for a few minutes, but the mentioned boy cheered, excitedly taking the paper. Lighting crackled around it, and everyone watched it burn with wicked eyes, making the poor ‘ace’ shake.
“Alright, I’m going to work now!” She tried to run to her lab, but was caught by Daichi, who held her up like a cat caught by the scruff of their neck. Felix, the fox spirit, snickered, putting Tiny on his back, while Nina, the cat, shook her head in disappointment.
“Asahi told me that you need to be watched, again?” He smiled ‘kindly’.
“Maybe.” Madaline smiled nervously in response.
Ennoshita stepped in front of her, giving her his chastising glance, tearing another response from her. “Fine, you guys can come.”
“Thank you.” The Karasuno captain nodded. The group walked alongside her, talking animatedly, and Ennoshita, Kinoshita, and Narita had to go do some paperwork, so it was just the six of them. Getting into her lab, which was on the third floor, they immediately stood on the sidelines, watching her work.
Madaline placed Tiny on the island in the middle, tapping the surface with two fingers, making a touchable hologram pop up. Going over to the ‘Celestial Files’ box, she expanded it, the other boxes moving away. Pressing the ‘+’ button, she directed the new spirit to a small pad, letting him off after scanning him.
Name: Tiny
Type: Small
Quirk: Unknown
Animal: Porcupine
Age: 3 or 4
Coos when excited and loves attention. Found in the alleyway near the Seijoh Hero Agency, three thugs around him. Do not leave alone.
Most likely could have developed social, separation, and normal anxiety if he was allowed to live longer.
“How many applications have you guys gotten?” Madaline said as she typed.
“Four, applications close tomorrow.” Suga called, looking over the applications. “We got that ‘King of Shadows’ guy.”
“From Kitagawa Daiichi?” Tanaka leaned in.
“Man, I wish I didn’t get suspended.” Nishinoya pouted, crossing his arms.
“It’s okay, Noya! You’ll be able to make a grand entrance when you meet the first years!” Madaline cheered him up.
“Yeah!” He cheered. Madaline uploaded the file to the folder.
“I’m done, can we get something to eat?” She jumped up to Daichi, looking like an excited child.
“Yes, Tanaka, can you text Ennoshita what we’re doing?” The buzzcut haired boy nodded, following as the group left. Suga helped her lock up.
The day continued like that, just hanging out with her friends and trying to avoid the topic of future heroes.
Hero, huh? Madaline thought that night, laying down in her bed. There’s no way! I have the celestials and all the work I have to put in to protect them. With a huff, she turned on her side and fell asleep.
“You’d be a good hero.”
*: There won’t always be a chapter title, so be on the lookout for that!
*: The violence scenes will become more graphic the further I get into the story.
*: You guys know the Northern Lights down in Norway? That’s what I mean when I say “aurora”.
Small note, not very important, Madaline is part Latina, so she speaks Spanish, but as I, the author, don’t, the parts where she speaks in Spanish will be in bold to avoid conflict and butchering words. Thank you for understanding!
0 notes
98prilla · 10 months ago
To The Dead
He was trying.
 He really, really was, trying.
 But he couldn’t get Roman’s words out of his head.
 And he’d heard the others, talking to the air, talking to him, they probably thought he didn’t, but he’d always been good at lurking in shadows, in pretending to not exist, he wasn’t surprised, he was able to mask his presence well enough no one could sense him near.
 He’d heard Patton and Janus’s pleas. He’d heard Logan’s well reasoned arguments. He’d heard Roman’s apologies. He knew Roman was blaming himself, that it was tearing all of them up inside, but the thing was, Roman was right.
 There were too many things, that could go wrong. Too many ways he could hurt them, too many ways he could destroy them, and he refused, he refused to drag them into his self-destructive spiral.  
 So, he stuck to the shadows, where no one could find him. He hid in the corners and under the couches and under the beds. He didn’t use his room, not since then they’d know where he was, and he stayed away as much as he could. He was exhausted and unfocused and half even deader than he already was, but he couldn’t let himself rest or he’d fizzle into view.
 The closest he’d gotten was that night, with Patton. Everyone else had already been in their own rooms, and he felt guilty, Patton was staying out there for him, after all, and the least he could do is make sure he was comfortable. And now Patton’s words were rattling around in his skull, too, fighting against Roman’s, and he felt torn in two entirely different directions.
 Maybe that’s why he found himself here, lurking in the shadows of Patton’s room, melted into the ones in the corner of the room. He heard the door open, and he took a deep breath as Patton came in, flopping face first onto the bed, slightly alarmed to hear sniffling emerging from the pillow his face was shoved into.  
 Slowly, he emerged from the wall, his inky, tarlike form slowly forming into something more solid, something that almost felt right, though it had been so long since he’d been anything other than a blob of darkness or a splotch of shadow. But as his form settles, it feels more and more… right.
 “Pa… Patton?” He asked, voice rusty and hoarse, barely above a whisper, but it’s enough. Patton gasped, shooting upwards, and all at once Patton’s eyes were on him.
 “Virgil!” he flinched back at the volume, form already destabilizing, it was harder to hold now, that he hadn’t in months. “sorry, sorry. I’m just… I’m glad to see you, kiddo. We've been worried.” He said softer, wanting to lunge, pull Virgil into a hug, but knowing he'd run if he did.
 “so-rry. I-" he flinched, a strange feeling coming over him, an almost nausea, almost vertigo, and he found himself on the ground, gasping as cold washed over him.
 “Virgil!” he could tell Patton had yelled his name several times, but he couldn’t seem to hear right, the world was blurring and going fuzzy. Not just the world, he was blurring, his form bleeding away like a water color painting. He felt Patton's hand on his arm, trying to say something, then the world shifted out from under him, Patton's hand swiping through empty air as he vanished.
He stumbled hard, shoulder ramming into the wall, as he heaved in several deep breaths, trying to keep from full out panicking.
 He felt weird. Solid. His body had weight, his form wasn’t flickering, he was leaning against the wall, but it wasn’t their wall. The house, he was in the house.
 His breath sped again, remembering, shaking, crying, pulling at his hair as he screamed into a pillow, His words echoing in his head, he hasn’t been back here, not in the living room, since then, since he'd done it. He could feel the shadows darkening, starting to move of their own accord, starting to whisper.
 “What the fwuh?” His eyes snapped open at the question, frantically taking in the scene.
 Staring at him were two guys, both wearing twin expressions of shock and fear. Around his feet was a star in a circle outlined in chalk, a candle at each nexus.
 “Summoning circle? What amateur fucking shit is this? Watched full metal alchemist a few too many times?” He choked out, biting sarcasm masking his fear and panic, trying to get the shifting tendrils of shadow slowly climbing the wall under control, succeeding in at least halting their growth.
 “We… we were trying to summon Patton.” The shorter one said. He huffed, vision spinning.
 “Well good job, dipshit, you summoned the literal opposite of that ray of sunshine. Now get me out of here!” He demanded, teeth grit against the strange cold seeping into his bones, the dark tiredness starting to fill him.
 “Um. We don’t actually know how.” The taller one admitted sheepishly.
 “Who are you, anyway? We only knew Patton and Roman.”
 “Uh, no. You don’t get to interrogate me after practically kidnapping me.”
 “Kidnapping… you showed up!” the short one, who seemed to have an attitude.
 “oh yes, because I looove getting dragged to the physical plane of existence and talking to two idiots who think the funnest thing to do is harass people who probably don’t want to have memories of their recent demise brought back to the surface!” He shouted, breathing picking up again, hands clenched into fists, shadows wavering and breaking over the room, though he kept it in enough it didn’t attack, claws and glowing eyes and teeth ready to bite.
 “You’re… Virgil, aren’t you?” He flinched back at that, shaking harder. “Oh shit, dude, I’m-"
 “What? Sorry? Yeah, me too, now let me out!” he snarled, eyes flashing dark voids of shadow, his shadows writhing, and he found he had the anger to control them, and he hissed as one swiped through the chalk, releasing him from its hold as he struggled to stay standing, the circle giving him a truly physical form, draining his own energy to do so.
 “We aren’t fucking toys. We’re people. We all died horrifically, at our hand or at others'. So next time, leave me the hell alone.” He snapped, his shadows encasing him as the solidness faded from his limbs, as his form fell to shreds, as the last of his energy was sucked from him, realizing the circle draining him dry, the crackling electric backlash of breaking the spell hit him full force, sending him reeling.
He fell, unceremoniously, crashing down from the ceiling and landing hard on the floor, crying out at the pain that shot through him, his vision flickering. He felt cold, icily cold, exhausted, drained, empty, barely, barely there.
 “-il…-ear me? Virgil!” Roman’s panicked voice cut through his haze, though he found he couldn't answer, couldn't even nod. He was so purely exhausted, he was barely staying together at all. “Oh, love… it’s ok, I’ve got you.” He felt Janus lifting him up, and realized he must have landed in the living room. He thought he should be worried about that, for some reason, but his mind was already hazing over with fog. “Logan! Patton!” He called, the spirits appearing after a moment, any reprimand at being disturbed vanishing as Logan took in the state of Virgil, unconscious and form flickering, not the usual black, but a soft, faded gray. The same kind of gray that he’d seen on the others, on himself, when the wraith was draining them of their soul’s essence. Something had very badly damaged Virgil.
 “What happened?” he demanded, trying to be steady, to keep Patton beside him from panicking.
 “I don’t know. He… he showed up, in my room, then vanished, like he got pulled away, I tried to hold on, but I fell right through him!”
 “Then he fell from the ceiling and crashed to the ground.” Roman finished, lacking his usual bravado.
 “Lo, is he-“
 “No, he’s not fading. Whatever started the drain has stopped, he’s stable, if very weak. An attempt at summoning, if I had to guess. Likely, they didn’t use anything to power the spell itself, so it used Virgil himself. He’s lucky he was able to break out, as he must have, for it to hit him this hard. Otherwise…” Logan trailed off, unwilling to finish that sentence, knowing from the silence the others knew his meaning.
 “He was going to talk to me.” Patton said softly, tucking back a strand of Virgil’s hair, who didn’t seem to register the motion at all, lying still and pale as stone.
 “He still may. He just needs to rest and recuperate, Patton. He will be all right.” Logan reassured, resting a hand on Patton’s shoulder for a moment, before turning away, trying to hide his fondness behind a frown. “Though we should figure out what exactly they did, and stop them from doing it again.”
 No one noticed the green eyes glowing in the corner, alight with anger, at the state of his friend, because Virgil was a friend, whether he liked it or not. It was long past time the humans take notice of him, after all, and this would be a much needed… learning opportunity.
“well that could have gone better.” Thomas muttered, shivering slightly. The darkly moving shadows had vanished along with the ghost, the circle now smudged beyond recognition, the icy cold temperature of the room slowly returning to normal.
 “No kidding. How’d you know that one’s name?” Joan asked, still staring at the spot he'd vanished.
 “He… the real estate agent. He had to tell me, the previous tenant, Virgil… died, here. To suicide.” Joan let out a low breath, collapsing back onto the couch, grabbing a pillow to hug to their chest.
 “shit. No wonder he wasn’t happy to be here.”
 “It looked like it was hurting him.” Thomas murmured, remembering how Virgil was clinging to the wall, barely staying upright.
 “That's what happens when you do your research through google search, you silly billies.” They both stared at the glowing green eyes floating above them, the slow Cheshire grin forming out of nothingness to accompany it. “Someone gets hurt.” The voice growled, and suddenly it wasn’t a single pair of eyes, it was thousands, a towering mass of writhing tentacles and blindingly black light, a cavernous maw and a million gnashing, reeking tooth beaked mouths screaming.
 They both gasped for air as the vision vanished just as quick as it came, a few mere seconds, a glance at the clock revealed, though it had felt like they had been trapped with that Lovecraftian creation for hours. Thomas could still feel the vibrations of the clacking beaks, hear the echoes of distant screams, and he could tell from Joan’s horrified expression, they had seen it too.
 “I’m not exactly a fan, of people hurting my friends. Especially when they can’t do much in way of defense or… retaliation-“
 “We didn’t mean to!” Thomas blurted, before the sinister presence could throw them into another nightmare. “We didn’t… we didn’t mean to hurt anyone. We just… Patton seemed lonely. So we were trying to find a way to actually see him, and… and we obviously didn’t do it right. And I’m sorry, for hurting him… Virgil.” He finished, a frown on his lips, thinking of the pain on the ghost’s face. “Is he… is he ok?” He asked, heart pounding a thousand beats a second, terror racing through him.
 “Well, well, well, isn’t that interesting. The human has a conscience.” The voice echoed from every direction, bouncing around the room in the most disorienting pattern, one moment directly in his ear, the next all the way in the kitchen, the next above them near the ceiling, those green eyes and grin always in the corner of their eyes, always vanishing as soon as they turned to look.
 “And what about you, short stack? Got anything to say for yourself, before I decide what to do with the two of you?” Joan gulped, holding the pillow tighter, knuckles white.
 “Uh. He was right. Virgil. It’s not… we shouldn’t treat this like a game. You’re people. Not entertainment. But we do really want to get to know you all… to help, if we can. Even though we’re generally pretty shitty at showing it, that’s what we were trying to do. Help.” They managed, wincing as a dark chuckle rang through the room.  
 “Help, huh?” They yelped as they felt something cold wrap around their ankles, suddenly yanking them off the couch, dragging them across the floor, across the kitchen, to the basement door. Blinking their vision clear, adrenaline racing, they both practically held their breath as they watched a shimmering outline form, cringing as it was filled in with bones, then veins and arteries, pulsating flesh and decaying organs, finally a layer of skin growing over it all, putting a face to that Cheshire grin, the electric green eyes, as the being towered over them, smile wild and manic, eyes ablaze, a morningstar resting over his shoulder, his outfit some weird mix of sparkling satin and menacing velvet. They both flinched back as he leaned down, examining them, before extending a hand.
 “Seems like you two can use all the help you can get. Now, if you’re gonna go full in on this, you gotta learn the basics, and if you abuse what I teach you…”
 They shivered, seeing crimson blood splash across their hands, teeth ripping into their jugulars, shadowy creatures clawing them to shreds, screaming though no one else could hear, unable to move their bodies as inch by inch, their skin was stripped from their flesh, ants eating them from the inside out.
 “And it’ll be twice as bad if you harm any of them ever again. There won’t be anywhere you can hide, that I won’t find you, and believe me, it’ll be a pleasure.” Their vision cleared, the images wiped away like fog on a bathroom mirror, forgotten nearly instantly, though the feeling of dread and terror lingered. “So. You in, or are you pussies?” Joan snorted despite themselves, earning an eye roll from Thomas, and a slight upturn of the lips from the being, though he still glared daggers at them. Thomas took a deep breath, accepting the outstretched hand, surprised as he made contact, and it helped pull him to his feet, solid, though it didn’t feel quite… real. Joan followed suit a moment later.
 “Ok. I want to learn.” He answered solemnly, Joan nodding in agreement, gaze serious in a way it rarely was.
 “Me too. If we’re gonna be the crazy ghost house people, we might as well really go for it.”
 “It’s been a while, since I had such willing students. Oh, this’ll be fun!” He clapped, eyes swirling, teeth slightly too sharp.
 “So… when do we start?” Joan asked, and Remus tsked.
 “Patience. I have to get back before they wonder where I’ve went, and you have to start living like a normal person and not staying up until two scrolling tumblr!”
 “What does that have to do with ghost summoning?”
 “Nothing, just good life advice. Take from me, who’s never actually been alive!” Thomas and Joan exchanged a puzzled look.
 “Aren’t you a ghost?” He cackled, a wild, howling sound, that sent shivers down their spines, as he wiped away tears from his eyes, floating on his back in midair.
 “Oh, sweet summer children, you naive innocent fools, you’re lucky I’m in a good mood, otherwise it would be so very easy to break you. No, no, no, I’m not a ghost at all. I am a poltergeist!” He declared, suddenly close to Thomas’s face, gently booping his nose, those swirling eyes far too close for comfort as they stared into his. “And you may call me Remus.”
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new-moon-over-septarsis · 11 months ago
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Jester's feet slammed through the water step after step, desperate to reach their goal before it was too late. Although he still wasn't sure when, or even why, it would be too late, his gut screamed for him to hurry back to Juno, his heart racing in response. At last he found his way back to the spot they'd fallen asleep next to each other. Nothing.
His head darted back and forth, eyes searching frantically across the horizon. Then golden waters danced out of the corner of his eye. The waves carried a boot in front of him. Then another. Juno's riding boots. He picked them up and followed where the waves came from, trudging through water up to his torso, determined to find her, or another article of clothing, or even a half-eaten marshmallow. He'd take what he could get at this point.
"Juno?" he shouted. "We have to go! Can you hear me? Juno?"
Jester whipped his head toward the sound, to a forest of crystal plateaus where the golden waters faded into rivers of different colors: violet, green, blue, and pink. He weaved through the crystal formations following the green river as it carried Juno's gauntlets and even clumps of her hair. Though cumbersome, he picked them up too and bounded around and through the crystal forest. He came across a light waterfall pouring over familiar fiery hair and olive skin, where he saw the flash of a sickle blade swinging through the air.
"Juno!" he called out to her, though she seemed to not notice.
Her jacket hung down over her elbows and her hair was slowly unraveling from its braid, the end of it caught in the crevasse of a cracked crystal.
"Hey, are you okay?"
She finally looked at him. "Oh! I was just trying to wash off. Dumb crystal ate my hair."
Together they grabbed her hair and bunched it in a way where pulling it wouldn't hurt as much, then he took her sickle blade and swiped haphazardly several times at the end until it came loose in uneven chopped edges. Jester didn't breathe a sigh of relief yet, though. He shoved the rest of her armor in her hands.
"Get your clothes on. Hurry."
"My what now?" She cocked her head and just stared blankly at the pile.
Jester stirred uncomfortably. "Just get dressed. We have to leave."
Juno shrugged and casually slipped on her gauntlets, mindless of the urgency in his voice and body language. Impatient, he grabbed the sides of her jacket and yanked them back over her shoulders, even tying it in the front for her while she fiddled with her boots. Then she asked where they were going.
"How should I know? Anywhere but here."
"We're in danger. This world isn't as beautiful as it looks; it's a trap. As much as I can't stomach the thought, going back home might even be safer than this." He turned around and began to walk, expecting her to follow, but stopped dead in his tracks at the next absent-minded thing Juno spoke:
"But I am home."
He turned to stare at her horrified, but she had already walked in the opposite direction and hopped on top of a crystal.
Orion was right. It's already happening. "Stop!"
With a running start he leapt up after her and grabbed her arm before she could play with anything else.
"Don't you wanna play some more?"
"No, Juno!"
"'Juno?' Who calls me that?"
"Y-you do! How do you not-" He grabbed her other arm and stared her down. "Do you even know who I am?"
"Hmm..." She pecked him on the nose. "I know you're fun!"
Aaaaaand she's lost it.
She tried to pull him towards a swarm of jellyfish flying by, but he held his grip firm. She snatched one arm free and pointed at the swarm. "Come on."
"Please!" Jester entwined his fingers through hers. She looked down at her hand in awe, then into his eyes, finally regarding him with her full attention.
"Listen to me. Something really bad is going to happen to you if you stay here. I know this place was supposed to be our own little world, but we can't use it to hide away. We don't need magic to escape our problems. All we need is each other. Do you believe that?"
One hand locked fingers with hers, the other hand outstretched in a silent plea for her to take it. She stared down at their fingers, her vapid grin having long faltered. Her free hand lifted up slowly, feebly, ready to retreat at any moment. But at last she took Jester's hand. Juno the Daring made her choice.
"Yeah...I do."
And, as disgraces and traitors to both their people, Jester Cross and Juno Sagina ran to flee a world of magic once again. Hand in hand they bounded forward hoping to find their way back to the wells. They saw their refuge in the form of several clusters of golden waterfalls in the far distance, and Jester hoped to cosmos they'd be able to recognize whichever one they'd fallen from.
However, before they could close the distance, a gray figure darted past them and blocked their way.  Threatening them was a unicorn solid as stone, both in color and in sheer strength and durability. His battle-scarred body and his broken horn loomed several heads over Juno. A single eye and a stitched lump stared daggers into Jester's soul, water lapping in chaotic splashes at the Septarian's ankles as the hardened unicorn slammed his horseshoes into the ground.
"I've got new friends, Bartholomew. Go away!" Juno groaned.
Bartholomew? How did she know his name? If Orion was connected to Eclipsa, then is this unicorn connected to Solaria?
The gray beast snorted her direction. Jester immediately threw an arm up to shield her, though she seemed more just annoyed than wary. Bartholomew muttered through his teeth about how she was a disgrace to her people. To magic.
"Stay away from her." Jester's firm tone of voice earned Bartholomew a stuck-out tongue from Juno. He kept one arm in front of her and the other arm ready to fight at any second. Bartholomew seemed more interested in Jester anyway, taking a step closer toward him.
"You don't belong here."
"You don't say..." Jester was starting to match Juno's irritation. If you'd just get out of our way, we'll gladly be out of your hair forever."
"She can't be allowed to leave, and I can't risk you coming back here someday."
He wanted to listen to his Monster blood and stand his ground, to say "Or what?", to at least do something to prove he wouldn't be moved. But those eyes. That raging thundercloud gaze. The malice in that voice, the menace in that stance. Jester's legs gave way to a tremble as he found himself back at the tower- back in the nightmare -in the Monster Carver's presence.
An enormous splash snapped him out of it. Behind Bartholomew a figure crashed out from one of the magic wells. A bipedal equestrian creature landed with a palm to the ground, a staff extended in the other hand. It stood, white toga flowing in the wind, and lifted its winged staff, twirling it a few times before slamming it to the ground.
"Clockwork Shock!"
A mandela glowed from the golden waters following his roar. A bright light engulfed Bartholomew and the figure, and when it faded the unicorn was the one in front of the wells while the staff-wielder stood in front of Jester and Juno. His sunflower skin and furry horns were splotched with brown spots, resembling a giraffe, with pale blue eyes that regarded the Solarian and the Monster with urgency.
"Jester Cross, I presume?"
Jester's blood boiled. Nevermind the hourglass emblems adorning his toga or the magic he wielded. The regality in his voice was enough of a giveaway.
"You're one of them, aren't you?" he hissed at the Magic High Commissioner.
"My name is Reynaldo. I'm here to help."
"Hm, why am I skeptical?"
Reynaldo ignored his sarcasm. "Omnitraxus saw a vision of you here, but I didn't want to believe it. Do you have any idea how dangerous this place is?"
He sneered for a split second. "No. As a Monster, I'm not supposed to know these things."
Reynaldo took a step closer and raised his voice. "You. Don't. Belong. Here."
The Septarian hesitated for a moment, then growled. "You know what? I'm a little tired of everyone telling me where do and don't belong. If I'm not supposed to be here, then why am I being called? Why is Juno losing herself and I'm not??"
"I don't know." He shook his head. "But you'll lose her forever if you don't leave."
"That's exactly what I'm trying to do! Why are you blocking us?"
"Because you have no guarantee she'll return to normal once you go!"
Jester started. He stared at Juno, his words gone. What if Reynaldo was right? What if Orion was right; that there was more danger than what met the eye?
"Just come with me," he continued, extending his hand. "I can help."
Jester snapped his head back toward Reynaldo and spat, "By doing what? Turning us in?"
In a firm tone he leaned forward and said, "You can either leave through my way or risk losing your lives."
Jester balled his fists. No... So many threats. So many propositions and manipulations. And he'd dragged Juno into his life of struggle and blackmail. Whether or not he needed to feel guilty about it, he was still responsible for it. For her. Especially in her current state.
"No! You just stay away from me-" he swept a blissfully distracted Juno into arms bridal style then turned tail and ran once more "-and stay away from Juno!"
Of course he knew it was foolish. Of course he knew they were running from their refuge. But at what cost did it come through Reynaldo's path? At what cost did refuge always come...for a Monster?
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random-imagines-blog · 11 months ago
Feral Roots {M Shadows One Shot}
Requested by: Anonymous Wordcount: 3387 Summary: The Full Moon is coming up, and the leader of your wolf pack needs some stress relief. Notes: Smut, Breeding kink.
The full moon was only three days away, and all of the pack were beginning to get antsy. Tension was brewing beneath the surface, and even a hint of sarcasm was enough to send the men biting at each others necks. Your own body felt like it was starting to betray you, giving into urges that were not all that convenient. It didn’t help that the Alpha of the pack, M, had his dark eyes on you most of the time these days. It was those eyes that made you feel detached from your own will, and want to submit fully to his. However, you didn’t like to give in too easily. He liked a challenge, and you enjoyed giving him one.
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You were one of the young women who worked mostly on cooking duty. Roasting big pieces of meat, and adding in some vegetables because you were all still partly human, took up a big portion of the day. Wolves needed their protein - especially with the stressful change coming up. You had a full pig roasting on a spit, and you were making sure that it was being turned properly. “What’s cookin, good lookin?” One of the main pack came over to you, the smell tempting his nostrils.
“Don’t you know a pig when you see one, Syn?” You asked the long haired man. He snorted with laughter and took a seat on the grass to really take in the view. “You never come out here while we’re cooking, what’s up?”
“Shads is in a mood,” He rolled his eyes. “You know what he’s like this time around. He needs to get fucking laid. Why don’t you go help him out, you are his favorite.”
“Cooking duty,” You said, smiling slightly at being called the favorite. It gave you certain advantages - like you could get away with more things. As a woman in the pack, you were pretty respected. You could carry on the line. You protected. You took care of everyone. But you still liked to get up to some mischief at times. “Why don’t you give it a try? You’re rather pretty yourself with those cheekbones. Most of them women here envy you.”
You normally wouldn’t have been able to get away with saying something like that.
Syn, or Brian as was his true name, glared at you, then went back to looking at the meat. You could almost see the drool coming out of his mouth. “It’s going to be another couple of hours,” You told him. “I mean, if you’re willing to help out with peeling the potatoes, I can make sure that you get a prime piece.”
“I’m in,” He said. You got him situated with a bucket of potatoes and a knife to peel them with, then went back to your post of turning meat. It was the slow roast that helped the meat taste so good - perfectly juicy, just the way that the werewolves liked it.
Being part of a pack meant living in a very communal sort of place. It was more like a trailer park than anything else that you  could describe, just inside a large privately-owned forest. There was a rather large house on the property, which the strongest of the pack shared, while the rest lived in rather luxurious trailers dotted around the land. It helped you all to feel closer to nature. And it made it easier for the nights when you were doomed to shift.
This meant that all of you ate together.
Picnic tables were strewn around, some with umbrellas to stay in the shade, but most without. The strongest of the pack, the main five, sat together at the biggest one, and their plates were often piled high. Syn seemed to be relishing this meal more than usual, probably because he had a hand in making it. You sat with some of the other women at a shaded table, your plate still full of food but not nearly as much as the men’s. You ate what you needed and left what you didn’t for the others, such as the kids who were running around playing after eating. People were talking, it was a wonderful day until...
“SHUT THE FUCK UP!” M yelled, throwing his plate on the ground, half eaten chunks of food flying across the grass.
“M!” You shouted, getting to your feet. The whole pack went quiet, staring at the large man who had stood up and was glaring at Zacky, who was one of his best friends. You left the picnic table behind to go to his, and pick up the plate which had surprisingly not shattered. “Go and take a shower and cool off,” You said, looking up at him, setting the plate on the table.
“Don’t think you can tell me what to do-” M started, but you growled at him before he could call you a name.
“You’re scaring the pups,” You said, motioning your head to one of the younger kids who ran to hide behind his mom at the yelling. Tempers may fly but swearing wasn’t something that happened around the young ones. “Now go inside while I clean your mess up.”
“Fine,” M said, slamming his hand on top of the table, sending all of the cutlery flying up into the air. He stepped out from the picnic table and stormed towards the house, clearly in a bad mood. Were this a cartoon, you’d be seeing steam coming from his ears, or a black swirl atop his head.
“Now why did you have to go and antagonize him like that?” You snapped at the raven-haired man.
“What, I’m not allowed to speak?” Zacky asked, his anger still bubbling beneath the surface.
“You knew what you said was going to get a reaction,” Syn chimed in, wiping his mouth with his napkin as if the tantrum hadn’t happened. “It’s your own fault, dumbass.”
“Let’s go take a swim, cool you down,” Johnny said, getting onto his feet, pulling the dark haired man towards the lake that was in the forest that you all often used for bathing and exercise. You got back down to the ground and started to pick up the bits of food so you could properly dispose of it in the compost, shaking your head and muttering about what idiots men were.
“You shouldn’t have to clean up after him,” Brooks said, bending down to help you out.
“You’re right, it should be Zacky cleaning this,” You sighed, wiping your forehead with the back of your hand once everything was back on the table. “But we all  know he won’t lift a finger.”
“You should go see M,” Syn said, back to eating the meat off the bone. “He’s pissed.”
“Well now I am too. I hate when you guys scare the pups. Seriously, it’s a hard time for everyone right now. No need to act like children.”
“I hate to say it but he has a good reason to be mad this time,” Syn told you, making your curiosity peak.
“I don’t care if he gets mad or not, he has to keep his temper in front of the kids,” You said, not backing down. Syn put up his hands in innocence, throwing in the towel on the conversation. “I am going to go check on him though, and make sure that he’s alright.”
You didn’t miss the sexual motion that Syn made to Brooks, but you decided to say nothing about it this time. The last thing that pack needed was another argument during dinner. You just gave him the finger, then walked up to the house, slipping in through the back door. Other than M, it should be empty.
You followed the sounds of grunting to the built-in gym. Most of the pack just used the woods - strong branches for pull-ups, balance training, logs for strength etc - but M seemed to like punching bags over bark. He was working up a sweat, clad only in his shorts, hands not wrapped or anything, going to town on the bag.
“Do you want me to get you a picture of Zacky’s face? I have one on my dartboard,” You joked, coming up behind and held the bag steady. He kept hitting it, but his eyes averted to you and he was a little more careful. “You should at least put something on your hands, you’re going to make them raw.”
One good punch sent the bag out of your hands and it flew a dozen feet and landed on the mats. “He’s an asshole.”
“I know - but why in particular today, hmm?” You took an ice pack out of the freezer that was above a fridge that held energy drinks and water bottles, and lightly pressed it onto M’s knuckles. The discarded bag could wait.
“He says that it’s about time that you get bred,” M said, anger coming through in his voice. You were a bit surprised by how defensive he had gotten over that topic. You bit down on your lower lip in thought as you nursed M’s hand, attempting to stop the swelling before it started.
“I mean, he has a point,” You said, gingerly. “I would love to have a pup or two of my own by now. And you’re the reason that I don’t, M. I know we have our thing going on but you gotta drop me as a favorite eventually and let me find a mate.”
“Don’t you fucking start,” M said, tearing his hand away from you. “I’m not going to let you go and be some stupid mutt’s mate. You’re too good for everyone here.”
“As true as that is,” You started, attempting to lighten the mood, “-that’s my fate here. And the sooner you realize that, the sooner I can get on with it. And I think the only reason you’re mad is because Zacky wants to be the one to do it.”
“He’ll never have you, y/n. We both know that you could never love him.”
“I know, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone else in the pack who could be good to me. I deserve a mate, M.”
“And you never stopped to fucking consider me, did you?” M said, his voice going softer than it had before. You squeezed your hand around the ice pack in an attempt to keep you grounded. You never had this conversation with him before although you had always hoped... He never gave any sort of indication that he wanted you for anything other than sex.
“You’re just feeling the full moon coming, that’s what is making you say that,” You said, your voice going just as soft as his had. You tossed the pack onto the table, then approached the muscular man, putting your cold hands on his chest. He hissed slightly at the sensation but didn’t back away. “But if that’s how you really feel, we’ll talk about it after, okay?”
“It’s not the moon fever,” He insisted, grabbing you roughly around your waist before you could depart. “I may be jealous because of what that shithead said, but you’re both right. You need a mate and it’s time that you’re bred.”
“Are you asking me, or are you telling me?”
“I’m saying that I want you as my mate, for the rest of my life, and I want to put my baby in your stomach.”
“You can’t take that back, you know.”
“Oh, I know,” Matt said, smirking, his bad mood seemingly to have dissipated. Roughly, he dragged you to bench where he often lifted weights, got you onto your knees and bent you over it. His hand went through your hair, then grabbed it and held it at the base of your neck. “I can smell you,” He said, sighing happily.
And it was probably true. He had very keen senses and from the moment he hinted at wanting to be your mate, you had felt yourself becoming aroused. He lifted up the skirt of your dress, resting it on your back, and pulled your panties down to be around your knees. The cool air conditioning hit your skin and caused goosebumps up and down your thighs.
“Are you going to keep it slow or are you going to make me scream?” You asked, smiling though he couldn’t see your face. It was pressed against the bench, cheek down. He pulled at your hair harder, causing your head to jerk up.
You don’t know when he had the time to push his sweatpants down and get onto his own knees, but he had - and he started to thrust into you roughly from behind. His one hand was still tangled up in your hair while the other was holding your dress onto your back, keeping you steady. Your mouth opened unwillingly at the sheer force and suddenness of it all, but it certainly wasn’t to complain. You moaned loud enough to feel the bench rumble beneath you. He kept pushing your head up so that he could hear you louder. He loved the sounds that you made. He craved them. He yanked your arms behind your back for more leverage, went quicker and quicker - and then began to slow down. This wasn’t supposed to be just some quick fuck. Five minutes isn’t enough for stress release.
You took in deep breaths of air as he slowed, all of the jostling around had made all of your breath leave your lungs. He let go of your hair so you rested back down against the cool bench. Beadlets of sweat were already resting on top of the leather from your forehead.  He left you for a moment, and you felt bare. Empty. Cold. But when he came back after only thirty seconds, he had a jump rope and started to tie it around your wrists. You trusted him entirely. You were still in euphoria from being asked to be his mate. That combined with the knowledge that he was going to give you a child made you entirely pliable in his hands.
He grabbed hold of your shoulders and entered himself again, making you cry out. There was never any foreplay with M. It was a lucky thing that you were always aroused while around him. He lightly slapped your cheek, then shoved his index and middle fingers into your mouth. You started to suck on them immediately, knowing what he wanted. You relaxed against him, feeling safe, feeling loved.
“Oh my God,”  You cried out, raising your ass as high as it could go.
“Yes,” M hissed. “You’re mine. I’m going to breed you like the bitch you are.”
After another couple minutes of rough thrusting on the bench, he pulled out again, and helped you up to your feet, holding onto your binded wrists as if they were handcuffs. He paraded - yes, paraded - you in front of the windows and over to the sofa. You weren’t ashamed at all. Nudity was perfectly normal among the pack, since it was a natural way of being. You were nude when you transformed into a wolf, and nude when you came back. It was rarely considered to be a sexual thing, though it felt like it now, with the way that M was holding onto you. The way that he threw you down onto the couch. He didn’t go straight back into you, but rather, rubbed your ass and took in the sight of your pussy on display. He spanked each cheek, then grabbed them roughly.
You were on your stomach once again, a position that you were finding yourself in quite a bit today. M spread your legs then went back in with a satisfied groan. You were whimpering into the couch cushions as he entered you at a slight angle, riding you hard. He lowered himself, his weight on you, his hand covering your mouth making it a bit harder for you to breathe. He liked that. He enjoyed the struggle. It was rough, it was crushing. It was enough to take you out of your head.
M was groaning and moaning, as his face was turning red from the exertion. He wanted to make sure to give you the best and the strongest seed. He slid off, the sweat between your bodies turning it into a slip and slide, and flipped you around so you were on your back. Your hands were still tied up behind you and it was extremely uncomfortable, but the strain just added more to the experience. You gasped as you saw M’s face looming over you, his body between your spread legs. Goddamn, he was so fucking beautiful.
There was no doubt about the fact that there would be evidence on your body of this for days to come. His fingertips pressed into your neck, the binding on your wrists causing chafing. You might not be able to cross your legs for a few days with how hard he was going on you. But oh, how blissful it was in this moment.
“Cum in me, M, give me a baby,” You moaned, wishing you could run your hands through his hair. Or even over his muscles. The sheen of sweat over his muscles gave him an otherworldly glow. There was a reason why he was the Alpha and why everyone put their complete trust in him. He had a silent power hidden behind those eyes that were staring into yours right now. This wasn’t just a rough fuck, though he was squeezing your neck tighter than before.
Your head was hanging off of the side of the sofa as he continued to plunge in and then pull out. You saw love and respect in his eyes. You were his mate now - the bond was formed, and it would be cemented once his sperm was inside of you.
“Take it, make our baby strong,” M said, throwing his hand back. He let go of your throat, which brought color back to your vision, to play with your clit as he got closer to his climax. As your own came, overpowering you with white waves from head to toe, M’s hit him. He shuddered, releasing himself inside of you with a beastial growl worthy of a bear rather than a wolf.
You struggled to get your breath back, laying limp against the sofa. You would have to disinfect it before the rest of the guys came in, but th sex was worth it. Your chest was heaving when M slowly pulled out, taking his time to make sure that his cum didn’t seep out of you. “Do you feel better now?” You asked, bringing your head up onto the couch to be a little more comfortable. Your eyes caught onto the sight of his cock, still mostly stiff but starting to soften. He was still so big, it was no wonder why you were so sore and unable to move. “Enough stress release?”
“I meant what I said,” M said, finally moving and helped you adjust so your whole body was on the couch, and untied your hands. He knew modesty wasn’t an issue, but he draped a throw blanket over top of you. “I want you to be my mate.”
You snuggled into the couch, taking your arms out from beneath the blanket to hold his hand. “Are you asking me or telling me?”
M chuckled, looking away from you to the windows, seeing the cleaning going on outside. It was an after dinner ritual. “Both.”
“Silly man,” You shook your head. “Go get something to eat. You’re going to need your strength back after that.”
“Taking care of me already?” M asked, getting to his feet.
“Uhh - I’ve been doing it for ages, thanks for noticing.”
“That’s my girl.”
17 notes · View notes
scarlett2112 · 11 months ago
Mid 18th century - The Spanish Main
"Get into the closet, dear," Miranda commands. "You need to hide, I don't want them to see you. Perhaps help will arrive before..." her mother's exhortations are cut short when a loud bang reverberates and the ship lurches beneath her feet.
Despite her protestations to the contrary, Elena finds herself locked inside a dark space. Still she can hear the gruff voices of the men who are questioning her dad, her mom's determined assertions that there is nobody else on the ship, the laughter and footsteps of even more bandits.
Elena huddles even farther into the corner of the small hiding spot. She covers her ears when she hears shots, followed by heart-wrenching screams. As she dares to lower her hands, she realizes that it's just a matter of time before the pirates begin to explore the ship. The day had started so wonderfully, she had breakfast with her parents in the captain's quarters before going topside to watch the radiant colors of the sun bounce back off the brilliant blue waters of the Caribbean.
Terrified, she stuffs her knuckles in her mouth to keep her sobs as quiet as possible. A loud noise above causes Elena to jump. Looking around, she knows she has to escape somehow, if they scuttle the ship, she'll drown. Her planning is cut short when she hears a low roar coming from outside. Another ship? She feels the boat sway slightly in the wake caused by the second ship. Then, she catches her breath when she hears the echo of more footsteps above her.
It's the first time Elena hears any voices clearly. The thing she hones in on is how the one voice is obviously respectful of this "Salvatore" person and maybe even a little afraid.
"Niklaus." The second voice is much different than the first. She's surprised to realize that this speaker's voice sounds commanding, yet assertive and confident. "Just what the hell do you think you're doing? This isn't a treasure galleon."
There's raucous laughter and then the first guy speaks again. "Salvatore is jealous because he got here too late to claim any spoils for himself." Elena hears the sarcasm dripping from his voice. "I seriously doubt that they were carrying plunder of any value but we have yet to search the ship."
"I'm wasting my time here," the confident voice asserts.
Another evil chuckle. "Since I've got myself a larger boat now, I just may need to relieve you of some of that cargo," Niklaus threatens.
"You're an even bigger fool than I thought," Salvatore's voice is full of contempt. "You won't live long enough to enjoy the money you get from selling this stuff. The British navy will hunt you down..."
"You'll never live long enough to tell them about our little encounter today, Salvatore," the sinister voice growls. "The crown already has a price on your head."
Elena catches her breath again when she hears the click of guns being cocked. There are slow footsteps, and then Salvatore speaks again. "You have a mind to collect it?"
There were a few moments of awful silence then gunshots once again ring out over the serene waters of the Caribbean Sea. "That has to be some kind of nightmare..." Elena chants in a mantra to herself.
And then suddenly, it's quiet, the only sound is the sway of the ship as the waves crash against it, rocking the vessel gently. In fear for her life, Elena slowly and quietly unlocks the door and slips out into the hallway. She creeps towards the staircase, listening for any signs that someone's coming below deck. Reaching for the doorknob, she carefully raises one foot and then the other to ascend the stairs and grimaces when they creak beneath her feet.
Hearing nothing, she takes the steps two at a time and finally pokes her head outside. The hot midday sun feels good on Elena's skin, but she doesn't take the time to appreciate it as she flattens her body against the side of a bulkhead. When she finally has the courage to peek up over port side, her heart's catching in her throat when she sees bodies floating in the water below while the pirate vessel is shifting to its starboard side. Before the scream leaves her mouth, cannon fire erupts, ripping a hole in the ship just above the water line.
Knowing she's not alone, adrenaline surges through Elena's veins and she searches for some kind of a weapon. Picking up the knife, she grips the handle tightly and wields it like she's ready to strike. If she's going to die, she'll go down fighting. Suddenly she shrieks loudly when the knife goes flying from her hand and clatters to the deck. When she looks to see who kicked it away from her, Elena's blood freezes. It has to be him - Salvatore.
Backlit by the midday sun, he almost becomes part of it. A furious, powerful god of a man, with hair as dark as the hell from where he came. He stands with legs spread and arms akimbo, daring Elena to make a move. His black breeches are loose fitting and his boots reach his knees, he has a sash around his waist and a bandana on his head, a hoop earing hanging from his right ear. His shirt is gaped open and the sweat glistens on his muscled chest as it runs downwards to disappear beneath his pants. A large cutlass is hanging from his side making her flinch at the way the sun gleams off of it.
The man moves with grace and swiftness. He reaches down in a heartbeat and picks up the knife, re-sheathing it in a scabbard on his right hip. He moves closer to her, and she can see his features better without the sun glaring in her eyes.
Not one to cower, Elena stiffens her spine and raises her chin in defiance. If she was certain that her death isn't moments away, she might think him handsome. His well-defined and stubbled cheekbones give his face character. But it's his eyes that hypnotize her. They are impossibly blue, deep like the Caribbean Sea surrounding them.
He is standing so close to Elena that she can see his eyes as they move leisurely over her body, taking inventory of her assets barely covered by her dressing gown. It doesn't take long for the rest of his crew to do the same, and Elena snaps back to reality by the gruff catcalls and lewd whistles that came from behind the man.
"Ahh, Niklaus has gone and Salvatore finds the real treasure! Now we can all enjoy the spoils of the victor!" a dark haired man laughs, running the back of his knuckles over the soft skin of her shoulder.
Elena feels the blush creeping up from her toes and knows that her cheeks are probably turning the color of a red rose. When she shifts her weight towards the port side again, Salvatore's right hand snakes out and locks around her left forearm.
"The party for you will come when we reach Tortuga," he growls to his drooling crew. "Women for everyone, my treat." His eyes lock with Elena's, "This one is mine."
Something snaps inside of her at that. His insinuation raises her hackles just enough to put a spark of gutsy defiance in her eyes. "Yours?" she hisses through gritted teeth, trying to yank her arm free. Entirely forgetting she's a lady, she snaps, "Go to hell!"
The Salvatore grips her tighter and pulls her against his chest to the delight of his crew. "Can't oblige you this time, my lady," he murmurs in a low tone. "We're already in hell."
Before she can wipe that smirk off his face, he steps back and then pulls her behind him as he makes his way through the jeering crew to stairs. Elena tries to dig her bare toes into the deck to impede their progress, but it's futile.
There are more shouted salacious suggestions that make tears burn in her eyes, but she's not about to let these animals see her cry. She gasps when Salvatore pulls her into his arms, grabs a rope and crawls onto the side to swing across the sea and onto the other ship. Elena's eyes snap shut and then they're airborne, landing on The Flying Dragon's deck with a thump.
As soon as her feet touch the wooden planks, Damon grabs her wrist and pulls her below deck and into his cabin. Letting her go, he moves to his closet, after a quick search, he spins around and tosses a wine colored dress at her. "Put that on."
Defiantly, she folds her arms over her chest and refuses to comply. Damon comes to stand a hair's breath away from her, "I said," he mutters in a grim voice, "put it on."
She returns his glare with one of her own, finding the inner strength somehow to defy him. "Why? So you can rip it off me later?"
Damon's in-drawn breath is deep as he shakes with the effort to control his temper. But before he can reply, a loud splash echoes from outside. Elena shudders and can't help but look over her shoulder towards the window.
"Who were they?" He puts a hand to her chin gently forcing Elena's face back to his.
"What difference would it make now, they're dead? Elena regrets the words as soon as they came out of her mouth. His grip on her chin tightens and he comes so close that the tips of her breasts brush against his bare chest.
"Let's get something straight right now, lady," he hisses. "You're only still alive thanks to my... good graces. An inch to the side and that knife could have pinned your foot to the deck."
Elena tries to turn away but he catches her shoulders in his hands, forcing her to face him. "I could have let the crew have you, I still can, for that matter." He pauses, letting the weight of his words sink in. "I didn't kill those people," he whispers, his voice surprising Elena when it takes on a much softer tone. "Niklaus did."
Damon's at the wheel, trying to navigate through the treacherous waves. Jagged bolts of lightning light the skies in brilliant streaks. The clouds are thick, blotting out the moonlight and the stars. The wind rises to push the still waters to choppy, which morph into mountains of angry waves.
The veteran sailors struggle to get the sails down, and to tie them off. They slip on the rain soaked deck. The wind slams the rain into their faces like tiny stones. The ship presses, first up waves at forty-five degrees, and then crashes down, jarring their bones. At one point the waves spin the vessel sideways. They hold tightly onto the mast, onto ropes, onto anything. It's difficult to hang on.
Damon struggles with the wheel, the ship creaks dangerously as the unforgiving waves thrust forward in great amounts of power, allowing small glimpses of the cliffs just up ahead. He can almost hear the song of the mermaids as the ship is being pulled into depths of the watery hell known as "Davy Jones locker." As the muses play their sounds of death, salt burns his lungs as he fights to keep them afloat. The ocean teases the boat and throws it about like an infant would a rag doll. The wind mocks the pirates in their attempt to escape the ocean's hunger .
By the time the storm passes, Damon is exhausted, finally relinquishing control of the ship to Enzo so he can go below deck to rest. Having a white knuckle grip on the wheel has taxed his muscles, making them ache. As soon as he gets to his quarters, he grabs the bottle of rum and takes a hearty pull.
Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Elena standing near the wall staring at him. "The storm's past, you can relax now," he extends the bottle for her to take a swig.
Sucking in a breath, Elena approaches, takes it from his hand and takes a long pull. When she lowers it, she wipes her mouth against the back of her hand and gives it back to him.
Damon chuckles, takes one more himself then pops the cork back and sets it aside. "You have a taste for rum?"
"I'm not as naive as you seem to think," she arches an eyebrow then darts around him to look through the window. It's still raining but the sky is beginning to clear.
"Oh really?" he wraps his arm around her waist, pulls her flush against him then drops his mouth to the olive skin of her neck and begins to nibble.
Aghast, Elena pulls away and slaps him hard enough to make his head snap to the side.
Damon infuriates her even more when he starts to laugh and begins to disrobe. When he reaches his breeches, he winks at her. "You staying for the show?"
She huffs, picks up her dress and leaves his cabin, slamming the door behind her, the sound of his laughter follows her into her own room.
Seagulls screech, circling the blue sky overhead. There's usually something menacing in the sea vultures presence. Damon scans the horizon with his spyglass, smirking when he sees a vessel ahead.
The ship's sails billow behind him and the wind breezes across his face. He tucks a strand of hair under his scarf as he prepares to take on the other ship. Damon gives a direct glance to him across the deck, letting Enzo know that he's ready.
In this element, he's calm and collected, focusing on the gold and other spoils of battle. It pays for their food to keep their bellies full and keeps supplies in their galley. When they arrive in Tortuga, it'll pay for a night's stay with the wenches in Madame Bree's stable.
With a reassuring pat to his cutlass, secured in his belt, Damon reaches for the rope, hoisting himself onto the edge of the deck. The enemy ship is in his sights. As they near the vessel, he gives the signal and his crew goes into action. Anchors are thrown towards the merchant vessel to latch on. A second row of men spot the rival crew with their weapons drawn and ready.
"Make ready the guns! And run out the sweeps," he roars, winking at Elena when he notices her standing at the top of the stairs. "Hard a port! Rack the starboard oars! Hard a port! Keep her steady," he directs his men, "Fire! Fire all!" With their massive armament, it doesn't take long to disable the hapless ship.
As soon as they're securely anchored to the other ship, Damon along with half of the crew swing over on ropes to plunder it of its riches. Passengers and crew of the Nuestra Señora de las Angustias - are instantly alarmed by their presence. Damon slams his foot on the deck, commanding their attention.
Enzo approaches and takes his place beside his captain. With his trousers tucked into his large boots and open vest baring his hairy chest and wide shoulders, he is intimidation. His other men are baring their teeth menacingly on the main platform with their weapons poised.
"I am captain of The Flying Dragon and this is my crew. If you cooperate, no one will get hurt." He peruses the quieting crowd, the women are cowering, the men are scowling behind them in fear, but all are giving him their full attention.
"We will not be taking up more of your time than necessary, just some of your belongings. Do as you're told and you'll live to see another sunrise."
Damon hears Enzo begin to bark orders as they unload and load their plunder onto the Flying Dragon.
A raspy yell interrupts his line of focus as one of the opposing crewmen bellows and lunges toward him, swinging his heavy arms and raised fists. Damon draws his cutlass out of its sheath. Mason grabs the man by his wrist and shirt, forcing him back to the others with brute strength alone. The man is belligerent, his bluster is fueled by rum and quickly charges the pirate.
"Arrgh!" Mason roars as they brace and stumble against each other around the deck. He smiles wickedly at the fellow, relishing the fight. The man starts to flail his arms and shriek, his face red and spitting.
Damon's watching with an amused grin on his face.
"Watch out," Enzo spits just before they barrel into him then the three of them tumble over the edge and into the sea below. Damon waves his sword to dissuade any others before looking over the edge himself, laughing at the sight of his men, looking like bilge rats as they climb the ropes back onto the Dragon.
As soon as they rid the other ship of its spoils, his men urge the crew and passengers into the water, there's an island within swimming distance. Once he's certain everyone is off the ship, he grabs a rope himself, swings across the water and lands on his feet.
"Raise the colors," he directs then takes his place at the wheel and with a wave of his arm, his men fire the cannons until the vessel lists and begins its descent into Davy Jones locker.
"Now bring me that horizon," he shouts as he turns the wheel and they begin to sail away.
Glancing up at the sky, Damon shields his eyes from the sun's rays and watches the squawking seagulls overhead.
"Keep the current course," he commands Enzo then retreats below deck and runs into Elena straight away.
"What exactly are you planning to do with me?" she asks, her voice firm, belying the unease that's brewing inside.
He stops in front of her room then turns to face her. His blazing blue eyes sweep over her. "I don't yet know what I'm going to do with you."
"I'll not be your whore," she warns disdainfully.
He blinks back in surprise. Then his mouth forms a tight line and he leans closer to her. "I haven't ever needed to force a lady, or even a wench for that matter and secondly, I don't allow such things - not on my ship. Don't assume things you know nothing about, Miss..."
"It's Gilbert. And what do you know of morality? You're a pirate."
His jaw clenches. "You don't know anything about me." He replies in a low, steely voice. Dismissing her, he turns and pushes the door to her quarters open.
"And I do not wish to," she murmurs, stepping past him and accidentally brushing her shoulder against his hard chest in the small corridor. When she turns to look at him, his face is unreadable. Stepping inside, she slams the door in his face determined not to waste anymore time thinking about him...
Peeling off her dress, she unlaces her bodice reluctantly, draping them on the chair. Standing only in her undergarments, she crawls into the bed and slips under the covers. As she drifts off to sleep, her mind wanders to Captain Salvatore. From his heavy stomping black boots, brown breeches, white shirt with billowing sleeves, sash and a large belt buckle at his middle to his captain's hat; if not for her misfortune, she never would have met the renegade pirate.
Her memory drifts to the collar of his shirt exposing his throat, his square unshaven set jaw, and mostly his blue eyes locking onto hers. Squeezing her eyelids shut more tightly, her sinful thoughts flee as soon as images of her parents take their place. Her eyes fill with tears as she cries herself to sleep.
Elena's not spoken or left her quarters for several days. However, he made sure his men left food out for her so he knows she's been eating. Having a woman or women on board isn't unheard of, he's had wenches before but never one like her. Truthfully, he doesn't know what to do. She's undoubtedly upset, but he cannot change their course for her alone. His men were hungry and eager to trade in their plunder. Lost in thought, he stares at the water unseeing and doesn't notice Enzo until he speaks.
"What are you going to do with her?"
They lean with their elbows on the edge looking out at the sea and the fogged cloudbank. The breeze rustles through their hair.
"She'll have to stay at least till we dock. We can't very well dump her in Tortuga, that's no place for a woman like her. Are the men talking?"
Enzo's eyes twinkle. "The usual things a man will say about a fine woman."
Damon snorts. "She's quite headstrong."
"There is talk that you could drop her at Nassau…"
Damon waves off the idea. A disastrous hurricane, bringing with it torrential rains and gale force winds struck the island and many have died. The clearing of corpses has left the area rampant with disease and dysentery as the port continues to struggle.
"Under normal circumstances it would be ideal but not in the aftermath of the storm."
"We'll have to wait and see. The men are not to touch her in the meantime," Damon warns. The wind picks up and he takes notice of the cloudbank rolling in. "It'll be dark soon and a storm is heading in our direction."
Enzo nods. "I'll secure the rigs and make sure the lookout and the others change their shifts guarding tonight."
Damon retreats below to warn Miss Gilbert of the approaching storm. He isn't sure how long she had been traveling on the other vessel but his ship rocks heavily against the building waves. He heads into the deckhouse just as the first clash of thunder sounds. The clouds have moved in fast but the storm will be vicious.
Nearing her room, Damon pauses outside the door to listen. Hearing nothing, he knocks, "Miss Gilbert?" Silence answers him and he hesitates for a moment, "May I come in?"
He hears rustling for a moment before the door opens allowing him to enter. She has a blanket wrapped around her like a shawl and she clutches it more tightly as he steps inside.
"Miss Gilbert," A crash of thunder sounds, interrupting him. "We're sailing into a storm."
She glances at the small window, letting the blanket slip slightly.
"The ship may rock back and forth more than usual but that is just the wind and waves... I'll leave you to your thoughts," he starts to move when a bolt of lightning flickers through the window.
He turns around to see what she wants.
"I don't mind storms when I'm on dry land but they're not pleasant on the sea."
"I got you safely through the first one, I will again." Instantly his eyes fly to her brown ones. They're observing him like they were the day he first saw her. "May I ask you something?"
She nods, curious.
"Why were you on that ship?"
Elena straightens her posture before replying. "I was journeying with my family to Cartegena."
"You and your husband?" he notices the pale band of white on that otherwise tan finger.
"Briefly, he died in the French and Indian War," her gaze drops to her hand.
"I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sure he was a brave man."
Her eyes snap up, fire brimming in her irises. "And what does a pirate know about bravery?"
His jaw clenches and he moves closer. "More than you know..."
"What do you mean?"
"That is none of your concern," he finds his gaze wandering to her rosy pink lips. Another flash of lightning flickers across her olive complexion. With a loud gust of wind bringing the tremble of thunder, the water crashes against the belly of the ship knocking them off balance. He tumbles against her, his hands brushing along her curves as he tries to brace himself.
He pulls back as she steps away. He wants to whisper in her ear as his hand slowly travels along her softness and heat, pleasing her in so many ways… All of a sudden it's difficult to catch his own breath and he knows it's time to depart her quarters.
"Get some sleep Miss Gilbert. We have a busy day tomorrow." he says, putting his hand on the doorknob.
"Where are we going?" she asks, her face flushed.
"Tortuga. Goodnight." he closes the door behind him. His mind swims with images of resting between her legs. He shakes his head to dismiss such a fantasy.
The firmness of the mattress, the creaking of the ship, and that man invading her dreams have all combined to make for a restless night.
She's having a difficult time understanding the desire she feels. In a rare moments of sleep, she dreams of laying with that scalawag and has more than once. Although she never really felt any attachment, much less love for Malachai, she married him at the insistence of her parents. She had performed her wifely duties and mourned the appropriate amount of time, all the while hating that ugly black clothing she had to wear.
She's not naive, she's heard pirate stories before. How many of them had been true? Her curiosity with Captain Salvatore vacillates between anger and intrigue. Thoughts of him make her blood both boil and burn.
Even though he's a scoundrel like all pirates, he isn't really the man she expected. He has respected her privacy, making sure to knock... nor has he touched her. His body is hard and lined and a part of her aches to touch him and run her fingers through his raven black hair…
A thud of heavy footing sounds above her startling her from such thoughts. From the cat calls, it sounds as if they're pulling into port at Tortuga. She gingerly steps up the stairs to the main deck and looks around while shielding her eyes from the sun.
"The lady lives!" Enzo towers over her with a smarmy grin.
"We're about to dock, leave the lady alone," another man approaches, "I'm Alaric," one of Damon's crew.
Elena looks around, not quite sure if she shouldn't make a hurried dash for her quarters.
He brushes a strand of his hair away from his face. "I know you have a loathsome opinion of pirates but know this, we are all free men."
Elena nods, that short description is profound and for the first time she feels a little respect for the crew of The Flying Dragon.
Damon scours the port and surrounding landscape from the lookout. Tortuga has always been friendly to pirates but he's a cautious sort of fellow. Once he's certain of that it's safe to disembark, he climbs down the cordage of the main sail as the men began to dock the Dragon.
His boots hit the deck loudly, startling Elena. Ric's mouth twitches with a smile that only he can see as he passes him by.
"We will be staying here for a few days. We need to trade in our loot and rest." he explains to Elena as he moves towards her. Surprisingly she nods agreeably.
"Urgh," Enzo huffs as he heaves the anchor overboard.
Once off the ship, his men clear a path through the crowd till they arrive at the town's square.
"Stay close," he whispers in her ear. He wants to keep an eye on her, not only to protect her but always to keep away the brazen whores who don't care whether it's man or woman that gives them coin.
A faint blush blossoms on her cheeks as she acquiesces to his request. They go through several shops and vendors at the market, taking the time to speak with some of the shopkeepers and peddlers.
Elena stays silent as she follows after him. Although she's had ample opportunity, she hasn't made an attempt to escape. He's certain that she would prefer better accommodations than the Flying Dragon but he suspects she doesn't want to be left alone on the ship.
Afterwards he leads her to Madame Bree's where he knew the crew is making good use of their free time. Long periods without a woman's touch are no good to a man's spirit. Stepping inside, he sees Enzo with a full figured blonde on his lap.
"Oh Miss Gilbert," he waves, and turns his attention back to the full figured blonde.
Damon rolls his eyes and leads Elena to an empty table in the back. Despite its location, he still has a good view of his men as they gulp down their ale and fill their bellies.
Bree appears and sets two bowls of stew and a loaf of bread in front of them, returning shortly with a large tankard of ale for him. While she's busy eating her meal, his heart is thundering at her closeness.
She seems content until the women show up offering themselves to the men. Though they have gotten along well this day, he senses her discomfort at being the only woman not in that line of work.
A buxom wench with bright red hair and freckles tries to catch his attention by trailing her finger down his arm while smiling a toothless grin at him. When he shakes his head no, she saunters off, her expression changing as soon as Mason pulls her onto his lap and starts kneading one of her breasts.
Elena glances around the room. "So these are the type of women you like?" she discreetly waves her hand at the group.
"These women belong to Madame Bree. They're here to serve brutish men. You're lucky you were born of privilege."
Elena shoots him a peculiar look, then turns back again to observe the hedonism. When a barmaid trips on an outstretched leg spilling tankards of beer on a man, he looks about ready to explode in rage at the barmaid or punch the man beside him in the face.
"Please don't hurt me," the woman raises her arms to protect her face.
The man stands up straight towering over her. Fisting a hunk of her garment, he pulls his arm back to punch her but before he can land it, another pirate barrels into him, knocking them both on the floor. Soon half the bar is engaged in a melee, bottles are being smashed on heads, chairs raised and slammed on opponents.
The pub's rag tag band begins to play their make shift instruments, the sound almost choreographing the brawl. Elena's watching it open-mouthed. "Aren't you going to do something?" she asks Damon when someone kicks over a table.
"No," Damon laughs, picks up the tankard and empties it with one swallow.
"Those are your men," she looks at him aghast.
"It's been a while, it's good for them," Damon replies, clearly amused. The fight continues for several minutes before Damon raises his pistol and fires a shot in the air.
The men freeze and look around, then rather than continue the brawl, one of them yells, "drinks all around." As soon as it started, it ends to the sound of metal tankards clanging together.
The dim lighting of the tavern dances in her eyes and gives a soft glow to her skin. A rosy blush fills her cheeks but she doesn't turn away from him. "These women, they will never be embarrassed about anything."
Her eyes grow wide as they join his. They seem endless but he has no idea what she's thinking or how she feels. Could she ever be interested in a man like him - a pirate? His reverie is interrupted when the barmaid appears and refills his tankard of ale. He drops her a couple of coins then picks it up and takes a huge gulp.
Rather than return to the ship, Damon excuses himself to have a word with Bree. When he returns, he takes her arm, urging her to stand. Leading her up the stairs, they walk down the hall till they reach one labeled 10.
"It's late, we'll return to the ship tomorrow," he unlocks the door and steps back, gesturing for her to enter.
"I'd rather not."
"Need I remind you that you're alive only because of me?"
Elena crosses her arms and stands with her chin raised in defiance yet again.
Damon puts his hands on his hips and towers over her menacingly. "It's this room or you can sleep outside in the mud with the hogs."
An angry expression forms on her face and her glare nearly pierces him.
"Do not test my patience," he warns.
"Hmph," she huffs then steps into the room to look around before turning to face him again, "And where will you sleep?"
Folding his arms across his chest, he leans lazily against the door frame. "In this hallway of course unless you'd rather risk having one of the men knocking down the door. They've had a long draught and most of them are very drunk."
"There are two blankets, you could lay on the floor."
Damon reluctantly shakes his head. "It would be improper for me to share a room with a lady such as yourself."
Choosing to ignore his words, she expels a frustrated breath. "You could guard the room from in here."
It's very tempting to agree with her plan. But with his imagination conjuring up visions of her bare and desperate for his touch, begging and sighing as he makes her his, he quickly shakes himself out of such thoughts, tells her goodnight then steps out, closing the door behind him. Sighing, he drops to the floor, stretches his legs in front of him and leans his head back.
"Goodnight, Miss Gilbert," he whispers before closing his eyes.
Waking up when someone trips over his outstretched legs, Damon yawns and shifts slightly. He tries to get comfortable so he can go back to sleep but his mind returns to Elena. His affection and desire for her is growing. He wants to be free to touch her in ways that she will never forget. Does she have an interest in him too? Sighing, he wipes such thoughts from his mind and lets sleep pull him under...
Sometime later, the door opens and Damon falls back, knocking his head on the floor. It takes a few seconds to get the cobwebs out of his brain and get his bearings when he looks up to see her.
"Good morning."
"That's a matter of perspective," he mumbles, rubbing the back of his head.
"Sorry," she tries to stifle her laughter but does a poor job of it.
Sighing heavily, Damon gets to his feet, adjusts his dagger and runs his hand over his pistol. "Let's go, I'm hungry," he takes off down the hall, turning at the staircase and trotting down them.
"Where?" She asks, hurrying to catch up to him.
"I don't want to eat the slop Bree fixes so we're going to the beach, maybe we can knock down some coconuts?"
"For breakfast?" Elena turns up her nose.
"You have a better idea?" he arches an eyebrow then steps outside into the morning sun.
"Is this the only place to eat? We can't get some eggs?" Elena asks, looking around a little closer now that it's daytime. Today the sunlight is conjuring up the most brilliant of mosaics, reflecting from each leaf and wisp of cloud.
"Nope," Damon says over his shoulder as he continues his trek. Suddenly someone reaches out and grabs his arm, stopping him in his tracks. "Kol?" Damon looks over the man, his skin is warm and sun-kissed like his own from long days out on the deck. His loose cotton shirt is tucked into baggy brown pants, hiding his strong and muscular frame. At his side is a fine sword, and the hilt gleams in the sunlight.
"Can I have a word?" he gestures with his head for Damon to follow him.
"Stay here," he tells Elena and follows the other pirate for a short distance. "What's this about, Kol?"
"Niklaus is dead."
"What?" Damon's in shock.
"The Royal Navy - there was a firefight near Jamaica, off the coast of Port Royal. Lieutenant Maynard allowed his ship to be boarded. When Niklaus took the bait, Maynard's forces burst from the hold with swords and pistols, overpowering the crew. He fought hard until a navy seaman cut his throat from behind," he takes a breath. "Not only did they sever his head, they hung it from his ship's bow," Kol fists his hands in rage. "To send a clear warning, they brought it here and stuck it on a spike in the town square."
Damon shoots a meaningful look at Elena.
"Be careful, the British want us all dead," Kol cautions, nods at Damon then disappears into the crowd.
"What was that all about?" Elena asks, considering the serious look on his face.
"Niklaus, the pirate that killed your parents is dead."
Elena quickly turns away when her eyes start to moisten. Taking a few deep breaths, she gets her emotions under control and looks up, meeting Damon's eyes.
"Are you sure?"
"There's one way to find out." They walk a quick pace through Tortuga, the sights and smells aren't for the fainthearted, he's a little impressed that his companion is holding her own.
When the reach the square, Elena gasps at the sight of the severed head impaled on a stake- along with a stern warning for pirates to beware. "That's him?"
Damon moves a little closer, although it's a gruesome site, he does recognize his nemesis. "It is."
"Good," Elena retorts, "It's better than he deserved." With one more look, she turns on her heels and begins to walk away.
Damon quickly catches up, "the beach is this way," he points and the two pick up their pace. Along the way he manages to swipe a rope from an ox cart to help him climb a palm tree.
The coastline is brilliant in the morning sun with its chalky white ribbon of cliffs, jagged and folded, shrinking into the distance. Below the cliffs are beaches of rocks made rough by the barnacles upon them. In the distance a spit stretches out into the sea and upon the end is a lighthouse, lonely and abandoned. The foamy crests of the crashing waves are the only sound other than the cry of the gulls.
Damon pauses when they reach a beautiful stretch of white sand and sparkling ocean that borders the island. The trees and vegetation are lush green and provide shade from the blistering sun. He loves this beach and the driftwood that comes upon the buoyant waves as tiny boats. Then there is the seaweed, the flora of those salty waves, as deeply green as any high summer foliage. His favorite though is the soft rolling dunes and the tall grasses that whisper so sweetly into the gusting breeze.
"How are you going to get those down?" she points at the cluster of coconuts.
"That's what the rope's for," he shoots her a sly smile then starts to trudge a little further up the beach, finally stopping at a location where the sea is calm. He plops down on a rock and takes off his jacket and scabbard. "Feel free to take a dip," he nods at Elena, she sighs then drops onto the sand and removes her shoes.
As she bends over he catches a peek at the tops of her breasts. If she was bare and in his arms, he's certain that they'll fit perfectly in his hands. With nothing to slake his lust, it's becoming harder to shake off such thoughts. Turning away, Damon stares at the vast expanse of blue waters stretching in every direction. The ocean laps at the sand leaving its lacy foam to trail the waves as they retreat.
Standing up, Damon uses the rope, slipping it around both himself and the tree then starts to climb up. Although his perch is tenuous at best, he manages to knock a couple coconuts to the ground before climbing down.
Damon walks down to the water's edge. He places a quick toe in the water and takes it back even quicker, the chilly temperature shocking him a bit. Hearing her laugh, he shoots her a stare. Brushing it off, he walks back to the sand with a huge rock to break open the hard shell so he can eat a hunk.
"And that's how it's done," he holds up a chunk and stuffs it in his mouth.
"Well I must admit I'm a little impressed. Where did you...?"
"Hm, well, let's just say I've been around a long time. I've learned a few things."
"You are a rather strange pirate."
"My father taught me how to be self sufficient," he arches an eyebrow at her.
"And what does he think of piracy?" she challenges him.
"My father died a very long time ago, I did what I had to do to survive."
"Oh there's a fish," she squeaks, pointing at the one swimming by her feet.
"Either catch it or come have a bite," Damon stuffs another piece in his mouth.
"Catch it?" her eyes snap to his before she trudges back to the sand. When she sits down beside him, Damon offers her a hunk. Sticking it into her mouth, she moans at the taste. She looks up and gasps slightly at the fire burning in his blue eyes.
"Damon," she whispers suddenly. Feeling himself growing excited, he shifts enough to put a little distance between them.
Sighing internally, she stuffs another piece into her mouth before getting up and walking back into the surf to wash her hands. She stares at the endless expanse of blue water for some time before wading back to the sand.
Seeing the sun glimmer off the wet flesh of her legs inspires all kinds of thoughts, oh how he'd like to peel that dress off her.
"Is there a place to wash up, I haven't had a proper bath in?"
He points in the direction over her shoulder. After putting their shoes back on, Damon leads her down the beach until they reach worn pathway through some dense overgrowth. Elena screeches and jumps back when a sand crab saunters across the ground near her toes.
Damon chuckles, pulls his cutlass out of its sheath and cuts away some of the brush. Down the path there is a stream. By nature they are slow-flowing, languid in pace, and lax by nature. However this stream is mighty. Many torrents of water travel its path, rapids flick up against its surface like paint flakes off a distressed door. Boulders rise out of the water like the bows of a sunken fleet, and the hiss of far off waterfalls are the screams of their drowned crew.
The scent of moss and lichen be-fowls the air for leagues across. The stream is the reminder to all that witness its majesty the ignorance of presumption, and the existence of exemption.
They continue for a several hundred feet until they reach a tranquil spot near a falls. The water tumbles down the hillside in a series of mini-waterfalls. It tinkles in a laughing sort of way.
"Will this suit you?" he asks, stepping aside so she can see.
"It's beautiful, thank you."
"I'll wait up the path for you," he points in the direction over his shoulder. They part at the rocky edge and his heart almost beats out of his chest at the thought of her wet and naked beneath him. Brushing away such thoughts, he hurries down the path till he feels there's enough distance between them to give her privacy. Soon however, his desire gets the better of him. One little peek surely won't hurt...
He climbs up on an outcropping of rocks above her. As quiet as a church mouse, he lays on his belly and peers over the edge. Her back is to him and her olive skin glimmers under the summer sun. Finally she turns and he gets his first look at her ample breasts. Feeling himself becoming aroused, he has to reach into his pants to straighten himself.
As he moves ever closer to the precipice, he accidentally sends some rocks toppling over the edge, creating a splash when they hit the water. And then she looks up, her eyes locking on his...
When she doesn't shy away, Damon climbs down from his perch and walks to the edge of the pond. Slipping out of his clothing, he steps into the water. His eyes scan her body from head to toe. His manhood throbs with every step. Wading against the current, he considers her eyes, they're brimming with desire to match his own. He reaches out his hand but stops until he sees her nod.
His thumbs graze the sides of each breast then drop to her waist and his thumbs begin circling the crest of her hips. When he looks up, he finds her staring at him through heavily lidded eyes. Her breaths escape in short gasps. With mounting exhilaration, he bends over to take one of her nipples into his mouth and begins to suckle and nip. She responds by leaning forward, pushing her breast further into his mouth. Instinctually his other hand curls into her hair, tugging her head back to join her mouth with his. Her lips are soft and reaches up to cup his neck, and kiss him harder.
Emboldened, Damon takes her hand and moves her into the soft grass. He spreads her legs - lays between them then kisses her again. When she arches her back, her nipples grace his chest eliciting a heady moan that sends desire racing through his veins.
"Elena…" he grunts against the soft skin between her neck and shoulder.
"Please," she whimpers as her nails rake down his back. Damon leans down to kiss her again, stealing the breath from her lungs. When he breaks it, his voice is husky with passion.
"Bear with me," he whispers, then slides down her body, repositioning his face between her legs. When his tongue traces the seam where her thighs meet her body, Elena's back arches high off the grass. Damon wraps his arms around her hips and places his hands flat on her stomach, his thumbs once again opening her with gentle strokes. When his tongue flicks the delicate softness of her damp folds, Elena squirms wildly at his delicious onslaught.
"Elena…" Damon presses firmly on her lower stomach with his fingers as his thumbs once again favor her clitoris with soothing caresses.
She barely manages to open her eyes but when she looks down to see Damon's head buried at the juncture of her thighs, her heart feels like it's going to pound right out of her chest. He licks the petal-soft folds of her womanhood, pulling her closer to the edge of the precipice. And when he sucks the fiery flesh of her core into his mouth, she experiences the sweet death of total climax and shatters into a thousand pieces of light.
Damon crawls up next to her and holds her as aftershocks rack her body. She nestles her head on his chest and digs her nails into his shoulder as wave after wave of pleasure crests. Finally, he crooks his finger to tip her face up to him. "Are you okay?"
"Perfect," she replies in a breathy pant.
Damon leans over her, placing a soft kiss on her passion-bruised lips.
Elena's breath catches at the combination of fire and caring in his eyes. Wanting to treat him to the same exquisite torture as he gave her, Elena pushes him onto his back and straddles him. Sucking in a breath, she raises her pelvis up and slides onto him slowly.
Moaning softly, she uses his chest for leverage then begins the ride of lovers. Bracketing her hips with his hands, his pelvis rises up to meet her every crest, burying himself deep with each upward thrust. Damon's in awe as he watches her descend again and again. Her inner muscles quiver around him, saturating his flesh with intense warmth as her body contracts around him.
Their breathing soon becomes harsh and serrated, frantic and gasping as they approach the pinnacle together. Elena collapses onto Damon's chest and kisses him as pleasure ripples out from the spot where they are joined.
And then – they sleep - joined in the intimate way of lovers, until the blush of sunset colors the clouds in the west.
One Year Later:
Elena walks up the stairs and steps onto the deck. The ocean breeze coats her skin in a light mist of brine leaving it tangy to the taste. When they go below deck tonight, every kiss will remind her of the waves that pound the beach with a white foamy spray. She closes her eyes to the lullaby of the ocean, breathing in its poignant salty breath.
From his perch at the ship's wheel, Damon stares at his bride. She's a vision with her red bandana, white scoop neck - poofy- sleeved shirt, leather lace up corset, striped pants and knee length boots. Around her waist is a belt with a draping Jolly Roger image. Tucking her sword into its sheath, she approaches him.
"Look at that sea. And the world stretching around us... a barrel of gold ready to drop in our laps. It's the only life, Damon," she gives him a good morning kiss.
"Say the word and the Caribbean is yours," he bows dramatically and waves his ostrich plumed hat before her.
Smiling, she takes his place at the wheel, running her fingers over it as if it's been spun from the finest silk. Looking up, she notices Enzo dawdling. "On deck, you scabrous dog! Hands to braces! Let go and haul to run free!" She watches with a smile as the men skitter around and take their stations while Damon pulls out the spyglass and looks out over the shimmering sea.
"Now... bring me that horizon," she winks when Damon looks over his shoulder at her.
"And really bad eggs..." he sings with a twinkle in his eyes.
"Drink up me hearties yo ho," she follows in song then spins the wheel to the east.
The gentle wind billows the sails and the deck warms in the morning light. The Flying Dragon skips across the white crested waves like a merry child in a field of daisies.
*The Spanish Main: the former name for the north coast of South America between the Orinoco River and Panama and the adjoining parts of the Caribbean Sea when they were under Spanish control.
*The idea for Niklaus fate comes from Blackbeard, real name Edward Teach, died on 22 November 1718 when he was shot five times and stabbed 20 times in an ambush by the Royal Navy. The British forces, led by Lieutenant Robert Maynard of the HMS Pearl, took down the infamous pirate with a cunning ruse. After a firefight at Blackbeard's favorite hideout, an inlet on the island of Ocracoke, off the coast of Carolina, Maynard allowed his ship to be boarded. When Blackbeard came aboard, Maynard's forces burst from the hold with swords and pistols, overpowering the pirate's crew. In Blackbeard's final battle he managed to break Maynard's sword with his cutlass, before another navy seaman cut his throat from behind. Blackbeard was decapitated and his head was hung from Maynard's bow and placed on a spike at the mouth of River Hampton, Virginia, as a warning to others.
Hat tip to POTC: The Curse of the Black Pearl at the end. I can't count how many times I saw that movie in the theatre. :) 
Thank you Eva for everything you do- you are truly priceless. 
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comfyswitcherblanketfort · 12 months ago
Snowed In
Y'all, the quarantine hit hard. This fic is 100% self serving but I'm posting it in case it makes anyone else feel better? To add some spicy self loathing to my day? who knows. 
No legit pairings, a tiny bit of hinting angstiness, for the sake of form, Geralt x fem!reader
Warnings: defs big warning for anxiety and depression. I don't think there's anything else? Lmk if there is and I'll edit this.
“Snowed in?” you repeated, having just packed everything up and saddled both Roach and your horse Beau. 
Geralt nodded grimly, “We’ll just have to hope Jaskier hears of the weather before he tries to make it here. The mail carrier is refusing to ride the pass.”
You heaved your saddlebags down with a slightly over dramatic grunt before turning to face him, “Is it a passing storm or do they think it’s headed for us?”
He shrugged and began untacking Roach, “You’ll have to ask the innkeeper. I just heard from someone who was turned back.” 
You both finished putting the horses back in their stalls, throwing a little extra hay over the side in case you didn’t want to face the cold after dinner. The innkeeper looked frantic, attempting to deal with about five angry customers, so you headed for the connected tavern instead. In your experience, bartenders knew more scuttlebutt anyway. 
Surprisingly you two were the only ones in the bar. The pretty blonde poured the two of you a beer and slapped a loaf of bread down between you before you could utter a word of request. Something rather unusual since traveling with Geralt. 
“How long do you think this will last?” you asked, handing the woman a couple of gold coins. 
She shrugged, “Last year it was mild. Just a week I think? But the year before that the town was stuck for almost a month.”
“Hm- huh? What day is it?” you mumbled as Geralt shook you awake. 
“Twenty-three. Get up.” He ordered. The process had become routine. The two of you were stuck in a rather small room together due to overcrowding and you weren’t handling the idle time very well. 
Geralt seemed completely content to meditate by the fire and meticulously repair his armor for the rest of eternity. While you had quickly become catatonic. 
You sat up only because you knew he would lift you out of the bed completely if you didn’t do it yourself, “Ah yes, what a beautiful day to feed the horses and drink our weight in ale.” 
The sarcasm dripping from your voice only earned a stern look from your roommate. The inn had run out of the drinkable stuff last week and they were rationing little the piss water they had left.
You scratched at your hair, your hand recoiling at the feel of grease. There was nothing to do, the floor space between the bed and the fire was barely big enough for Geralt to sit cross-legged, let alone for you to do any sort of exercise to keep your mood up. Not that you would if you could anyway. Any motivation to keep some sort of normalcy had left your body around day ten. The innkeeper had let some guests spar in the lobby around day six but everyone scattered when you had attempted to join. Something about ‘the witcher’s girl’ and how ‘she might gut you out of habit’. People could be stupid, you weren’t a witcher any more than they were and even so, Geralt was calmer and more restrained than all of them combined.  
So, embracing the numbness, you stayed in bed well into the afternoon and long after Geralt had left his side of the bed.
“Did I miss breakfast again?” you asked, not making a move to get any farther from your warm blankets.
Geralt nodded, pointing to the small table near the door where some bread,  cheese, and dried meat sat waiting. 
You picked at it for his benefit, though you hadn’t really been hungry for a few days now. The storm raging outside was just about as strong as the one raging through your hollow insides. This inaction, the unknowing, the vulnerability was killing you. 
“Y/N, you need to eat more than the crumbs.” Geralt urged, moving to sit in the chair opposite to you. 
“I tried.” You sighed, “Can’t I just lay back down?”
He shook his head, “No. You’re letting this consume you. You’re tougher than this.”
You scowled at him, wanting to throw the bread in his face, “Fuck you. Nothing bothers you.”
“Your behavior is bothering me.” he countered, staring at you with a mix of worry and annoyance.
“Well isn’t that touching.” You sighed in mock flattery. Abandoning any idea of food, you got up to sit by the fire,  poking at it aggressively with an iron rod and making a point to face away from him. 
“What in the spheres is your problem?” He growled.
“Being stuck here with nothing to do?” you offered, your tone reminiscent of the young spoiled princess the two of you had saved from a wraith a few months back. 
“That’s not it. I know when you’re lying Y/N”
Your limbs felt like they might float away into the air if you didn’t curl up into a ball, “I don’t want to talk about it Geralt. I’m sorry for snapping. I just need a couple of minutes.”
“You’ve needed ‘a couple of minutes’ for the past two weeks. Time to talk.” he argued. 
You snorted, “That’s rich coming from you. You didn’t tell me you’d been stabbed until right before you passed out in Temeria.”
“I’ve tried learning from my mistakes.” his tone was one of convincing the both of you, “What's bothering you? Really.”
“I don’t fucking know Geralt.” you hissed, getting very tired of his prying.
You heard him sit back and cross his arms, “Not good enough.”
You felt the words leave your throat before you could think of their meaning, spewing out with vitriol and fire, “I’m fucking tired. I’m tired of you telling me what to do. I’m tired of watching snow pile up out the damn window. I’m tired of the stupid couple that fucks all night next door. I’m tired of this worry that feels like it will rip me apart at any fucking moment from just not fucking knowing. I’m tired of worrying about Jaskier. I’m tired of worrying about the horses getting stocked up when there’s nothing I can do to help them. I’m tired of the glares from the other guests. I’m tired of feeling powerless. I’m tired of having no decent outlet for this anxious energy I’m stuck with. I’m tired of not knowing when this feeling will go away. And I’m absolutely fucking exhausted by the thought that it’s only been twenty-fucking-three days yet I feel I’ve been trapped here for a god-damned-eternity.” 
The last sentence broke your resolve to stay angry. Upon pushing the last words from your lungs, you heaved a deep breath and let the sobs tear your chest apart, giving in to the hopelessness that had been building for weeks now. 
You heard a shuffling that registered in the back of your mind as Geralt sitting behind you, but even so, you flinched when a hand rested on your shoulders. He scooped one hand under your knees and pulled you onto his lap, pulling a blanket from the bed and wrapping it around the two of you. He let you sob until the sobs turned to whimpers.
“I didn’t realize, I’m sorry Y/N” he whispered, placing a gentle kiss on the top of your hair, sending a flood of warmth to your cheeks.
“You don’t need to be.” you croaked, leaning into his affection.
“I didn’t need to pry either.” He argued.
You just hummed in reply, too much of your energy spent on purging your system of those hideous sobs. You did make a noise of protest when he lifted you from his lap and set you beside him on the floor. 
“Stay by the fire, I’ll be back.” He instructed, the tenderness of his voice surprising you. 
Minutes later, as you were beginning to pull yourself back together, he returned with a terry cloth robe and what smelled like fresh jasmine soap. Without a word, he hoisted you into his arms and carried you across the room to the bathroom. He set you on your feet and handed you the robe and soap before turning his attention to the lever pump hanging over the ceramic tub. 
“A bath?” You tried to bring your usual playful tone back to life and failed miserably.
“Does it make you uncomfortable?” 
You shook your head, “I’m just…” slightly disoriented? you finished the sentence in your head, not sure how to phrase it.
“Not used to anyone accommodating your emotions.” he finished, a knowing look in his eyes reminding you just how much he knew of isolation and pain. 
As you nodded you had to mentally remind yourself you have to let people help you, that it’s okay to let people help you.
You didn’t bother waiting for him to leave before you peeled off your riding breeches. Melitele only knows how long you’d gone without changing them. You had more trouble unlacing the cinched waist blouse you’d been wearing the last four days. The restless tossing and turning you’d done instead of sleeping had it knotted four times over. When you’d finally rid yourself of every last thread the tub was full. 
Geralt traced a sign in the water, sending ripples over the surface and steam up in the air, “Shouldn’t be too hot, but test it first.” He mumbled, making an effort not to stare at you too long. 
It was rather hot but you had exposed yourself enough for one day. You took the hand he offered for balance and sank into the nearly scalding water without hesitation.
He knelt next to you, “If you wish to be alone-”
“No.” You interrupted, not having the courage to look up at him, “Please don’t go.” The words barely escaped your mouth, but Geralt heard them perfectly fine.
He wet a washcloth and lathered it with soap before handing it off to you. With the rest of the bar, he began washing your hair. At first, his hands were hesitant, as if he was afraid to hurt you. He paused when you gave up scrubbing the sweat and dirt from behind your knees, but only for a moment. You leaned into his touch, closing your eyes. His nails scratched at the base of your skull, coaxing a sigh from your lips. As he massaged the soap through the tangled mess he took his time with the tension in your temples, then the pressure points behind your ears, even working out the knots in your neck. You did your best not to moan, but a couple of gasps and pleased grunts may have slipped out.  He rested a hand between your shoulders and guided you back, dipping your hair into the water to rid it of the froth he’d created. 
You peeked up at him through your lashes. If he noticed he didn’t show it. His face was relaxed, almost serene, as he raked his fingers through your hair, gently tugging on the bigger tangles. You hadn’t ever taken the time to look at his eyes before, he seemed uncomfortable over them when you’d met so you left him alone about it. Looking at them now, you regretted it. They were a beautiful mix of honey, sunflowers, and glittering gold. And they were so kind. The idea that people spat at him when they recognized his eyes made your heart ache. 
With a slight nudge from him, you sat back up, all the tension in your body having melted in the hot water or under his touch. You pulled your knees to your chest, resting your arms across them and your chin on your arms. The events of the day had you feeling like a child who’d gone too long without a nap being soothed back to sleep. If you were being honest with yourself you missed the feeling of safety that came with someone taking care of you. 
Geralt brushed your favorite oils through your hair, doing his best not to pull through knots too roughly, but it was in the same bun for about four days. 
You let your tired mind wander as you watched snow fall out the small port window above the tub. The comb had failed to detect any knots in your hair for some time but it seemed Geralt was just as lost in thought as you.
Eventually the water grew cold and you had to accept this couldn’t go on forever. 
“I think I might need to get out soon.” you mumbled, inspecting your pruney fingers. Everything in you was telling you to stay. Stay in this safe place with your gentle guardian. But you knew if you didn’t get out soon you’d never warm up, fire or not. Not to mention you knew you were taking Geralt’s actions more to heart than they were meant. He simply felt guilty for pushing you too far. 
That didn’t mean you wanted him gone though. You were more than happy to live the lie for a little while longer.
"I'll go check the horses." He offered, placing a towel and the robe within your reach. 
"Thank you, Geralt. For not… I don't know? Laughing at me?" You refused to look at him, being vulnerable enough as you already were. 
"Y/N…" he said your name like it meant something but you couldn't figure out what, "You never have to thank me. I owe you so much more than a hot bath and kind words." 
You turned your head to argue but when you saw his expression the words died on your tongue. All you could offer in response was a small smile.
It seemed to be enough for him and he nodded before disappearing through the door, leaving you to ponder what he'd meant. 
Part 2 here!
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gm--requests · 12 months ago
Take Him In Pt.1 - Hybrid! Bang Chan
g e n r e - s m u t. fluffy-ish ending 
w a r n i n g s - wolf hybrid! Bang Chan, dom! Alpha! Bang Chan, alpha?? Kink??, breeding kink,  knotting, degrading, extensive dirty talk, explicit language,  multiple orgasms, overstimulation,  fingering, honestly this fic is kinda a lot. Also, I just pre apologize for the number of times I switch between Chan and Chris haha normally I call him Christopher so this was odd for me.
o r i g i n a l  c o n t e n t - i did write this 
w o r d s - 6,346
r e q u e s t s  o p e n - here
Pt.2  Minho  Jeongin  Hyunjin
a / n - first and foremost there is mention of “police officers” in this fic. this is a work of fiction however, ACAB forever and always. anyways this is written with a plus-size reader in mind. anyone, of course, can read it, and i highly encourage it because i worked hard on this piece, but there needs to be a common understanding that there will be no dramatic throwing of anyone through a wall or anything lmao. like the plus-size community is hella underrated and i hope that i do all my babies justice. this is a werewolf, hybrid, whatever the fuck you wanna call it fic and it is my first time writing one so please bear with me. also please leave feedback if you have any. also please do not engage in unprotected sex unless you are in a long term relationship with a trustworthy partner.  that being said please enjoy sex as much as you want with the use of aforementioned protection!
“Taking care of a hybrid is just like taking care of anything else,” Minho said bringing the rim of the cup to his lips and taking a long sip. 
“No, it isn’t,” you hissed through gritted teeth, “you of all people should know that and can you keep your voice down! I don’t need everyone and their fucking mother knowing that I’m trying to break the law.” 
Minho rolled his eyes and shrugged, “You aren’t breaking the law, y/n, you’re simply doing what any other kind soul with a little extra money and too much time on their hands would do.” 
Now it was your turn to roll your eyes, the sarcasm lacing his words was not missed by you. For the past two weeks, you have been watching in silence, from the comfort of your bedroom, as a stray wolf hybrid did his best to keep himself hidden in the rubbage and shadows of the dimly lit alleyway beside your apartment building. Every night you would take your leftovers to the stray animal, trying to gain his trust. Eventually, the wolf began to warm up to you, trusting you enough to tell you his name, “It’s Chris,” he said lowly, “but everyone calls me Bang Chan.” Eventually also happened to be last night which is why you are now sat across from your best friend at a cafe down the street discussing what to do to get this wolf to let you take him in.
“Besides y/n, as long as you teach him how to behave in society and come up with a good enough backstory about how you managed to purchase him from an official adoption agency, there should be no problems,” Minho said, fighting back a smirk. 
“You know, you suck at giving advice and moral support, remind me why we are friends again,” you grumble causing him to laugh fully. 
“Y/n, you really are playing a dangerous game here. Yes I do work at a veterinary clinic, but that doesn’t mean I can get you everything you need,” he leans forward, choosing now to whisper, “like yes, I can get you the shots and even probably administer them for you, I can even get you one of the mock-up collars that we use for demonstrations so that he doesn’t have to get chipped, but it could take weeks, even months before I could sneak out any type of medication to subdue his heat.” 
“I know, I know,” you groan, slumping into the chair. 
“He could be dangerous without that medication y/n! Not to mention, regardless of his heat or self-control, he is a huge fucking liability! Like what if he attacks you or-” he is cut off by your waitress returning to ask if you’d like refills, you both decline as Minho follows up by asking for two separate checks and trying his hand at flirting with her. Her face flushes and she scurries off to get your checks. 
“Okay, gross,” you say, shooting him a look. He wiggles his eyebrows suggestively before continuing his lecture on the dangers of taking in Chan. 
“I’m genuinely just trying to look out for you. I know how you are. I know you are a kind soul, with the heart of a humanitarian, and a dump truck ass, but this just isn’t smart,” you roll your eyes and fight back your grin, “I also know that you have already made up your mind and I’ll come by at 9 am to give him the mandated shots, swing by after work to drop off the collar, and do my very fucking best to have the medication to subdue his heat within the next two months.” 
You beam at him from across the table and he exhales dramatically, “You’re the best,” you exclaim cheekily.
Glancing down at your watch you gasp at the time, “I gotta hurry back so I can get some food made for him,” you reach into your bag and grab your wallet, pulling out a 50 dollar bill and handing it to Minho, “this should cover both of us with a little bit left. Thank you!” You call out behind you as you quickly slide out of the booth and leave towards your apartment. Minho watches you go, a small smile playing at his lips. You were one crazy bitch. 
It was normally a 15-minute walk from your apartment to the diner, but you made it back in 10. As soon as you were in your apartment, your shoes were off and your bag was flung onto the table. For some reason, you felt nervous, like a first date nervous, determined to make something so delicious for him that he couldn’t refuse to come back home with you. Flitting around the kitchen quickly, you decided on a nice steak. Simple seasonings, medium rare, some rice on the side, something even you couldn’t fuck up.  
Everything was going well, the food had finished with enough time left to package it up nicely, and fix up the spare room of your apartment a little for his arrival. Looking at the clock, you ran your hands down your shirt to brush off any wrinkles, grabbed his food and made your way down to the alleyway. As you turned the corner, your heart dropped. Chan was pushed roughly up against the wall by two officers. 
For a moment you could only stop and stare, but when they pulled out their tasers and zapped him, his snarls and yelps brought you back to reality. 
“Stop!” You screamed out, dropping his food and running towards him, “Quit, that is my hybrid!” Your voice, loud and echoing, jarred the officers, making them drop their weapons. Without addressing them, you ran to the now slumping Chan. Quickly pulling him into your body, watching as his ears slumped. 
“If this is your hybrid, where is his collar and why does he look so raggedy,” one of the officers asked in disbelief. 
“His old collar broke and is currently in the process of being shipped here,” the words left your mouth without any thought behind them, “and he probably looks so ‘raggedy’ because you fucking tased him and shoved him around.” The words left your mouth like venom, their harshness even causing Chan to look at you with shock. 
“If there is such a fucking problem, I’ll be sure to call your commanding officer and let him know that you were beating up an owned and chipped hybrid, that you seemingly cornered and drug into an alleyway. What were your names again?” The words obviously striking them both as the second officer put his hand on the first’s shoulder, pulling him away.
 “I am so so sorry ma’am it will never happen again, we deeply apologise for the misunderstanding,” he said with a bow, shoving the other down to mimic his actions before retreating to their vehicle.  
As soon as the officers were in their car and driving off, Chan pushed you away, standing to his full height. His dark eyes filled with anger, fear, and confusion looked down to meet your soft gaze. 
“I made you food, but I kind of threw it down as soon as I saw those officers, so I don’t really know if it is still intact,” you mumbled, shuffling back and forth as his stare seemingly got heavier, “I also wanted to ask you something.” 
“Thank you for your help, but I will not become your pet,” he snarled, “I didn’t ask for you to protect me.” 
“I just, I don’t want you to get hurt. Please, let me take you in. At least long enough to get you healthy again,” you pleaded. 
“I am healthy,” Chan grumbled in response. 
“I have a friend who is a vet. He can help you get the medication and shots you need and he won’t turn you in. We won’t chip you or anything. You’ll get a fake collar to wear when you’re out, for safety, but you don’t have to wear it at any other time and I swear I’ll treat you like I would anyone else. We’re friends.” 
Chan huffed out and rolled his eyes, “We aren’t friends y/n, you are a woman, who despite knowing better, brings me food because she feels bad and needs to feel like she is doing some good deed for some helpless hybrid.” 
“Ya know, you don’t have to be an ass,” you began, your voice angry and short, his snide comment pressing your nerves, “You’re damn right I felt bad looking down here from my cosy apartment while you picked around for food, but I didn’t help you so I could fucking feel better. I helped so that you could feel better. I can’t imagine that it’s very nice to be alone and starving in a dark alley at night.” Chan growled at the hostility in your tone, his fangs protruding a bit, “And I’m not going to beg you to come stay in my apartment. I was simply asking as a friend, to help, but never mind if you want to be a dick about it.”
As you turned to walk away, you felt a large hand grip harshly on your wrist. Turning around to look at Chan you see his ears tucked down a bit, “You’re right,” he inhaled and sighed heavily, trying his best to regain composure and find the right words to say, “I’m sorry for being a dick, it is just a bit odd to have someone want to help. I’ll stay with you, even if it is only for tonight. I’ll do whatever I have to.” 
Seeing him looks so gentle and defeated made you want to hug him, but you fought the urge and instead smiled up at him, “C’mon, let’s go home.”
The “only one night” turned into months which turned into a year. The first two months had quite a few ups and downs, but soon things became routine and seemed to be going well. Chan had become used to Minho’s existence, though their first encounter included needles which probably wasn’t the best introduction. Chan began enjoying his more domesticated lifestyle, even managing to become great friends with Minho’s two hybrids, Jisung and Changbin. 
During one of the many late nights the two of you shared together, Chan explained to you how he ended up in his predicament. He told you about how his alpha title, about how he had a pack that had been hunted for sport. He talked about how the only members of his pack he was able to save were the two youngest Seungmin and Jeongin. He had dropped them off at an adoption centre in the city and after being on the run for so long he had forgotten what it was like to be taken care of. That same night you had somehow ended up asleep with your head in his lap and he had somehow realised he was falling for you. 
PH-1 blared through the apartment, as you danced around the kitchen making lunch. You had gotten out of class early and decided to make a good meal for Chan and yourself. After quickly making your way home and changing into a sports bra and legging, you began cooking.  
“Y/n, I have some bad news,” Minho said as he invited himself into your apartment. Chan, who was sat shirtless on the couch in front of a TV that had yet to be turned on, picked his head up and looked over at Minho with knitted brows, greeting him with a small wave. Minho nodded in his direction, “This concerns you too wolfman,” he teased. 
Chan’s ears perked up in confusion as he got up off the couch and walked with Minho into the kitchen to find you. There you were in all your beautiful and plush glory, shaking your butt and stumbling over Korean lyrics that were far too fast for you to keep up with. Chan would be lying if he said he didn’t love the little extra meat you had on your bones. All the curves and softness had his mind reeling if he thought about it too much. He was also trying to ignore the fact that you two had been living together long enough for him to know that the reason you were so happy wasn’t because of your class being out early, but instead due to the fact that you were soon to be ovulating. 
Chan was definitely lost in his thoughts, but Minho’s cold glare sent a shiver through him that snatched him back immediately, leaving a blush creeping up his cheeks. 
“Y/n! We have an issue,” Minho yelled over the music, causing you to jump in surprise and fling your spatula into the air. Chan reached out quickly, catching the plastic utensil before it hit the ground. You paused your music and turned back towards Chan taking the spatula from his hand and standing on your tiptoes to scratch behind his ears as a thank you. He closed his eyes in content and almost pouted when you stopped. 
“Minho, you have to stop letting yourself in here and then scaring the ever-loving shit out of me,” you threatened, pointing the spatula at him, “one day I’m gonna bust your ass.”
Minho chuckled and brushed you off with the wave of his hand, “I’m here to discuss some important matters with the both of you.” 
“What’s up,” Chan asked Minho, as he wrapped his arms around your squishy midsection and rested his chin on top of your head. A small blush falls across your cheeks, not used to him being so touchy. 
Minho looks from Chan to you with a small glare set in his eyes, “As the two of you know, it is pretty complicated to get a hold of extra suppressants for Chan’s heat. How I was able to get some so quickly within the first few months of you being here was by the grace of a higher power… That being said, I did order some, however, they are currently on back order and so it could be another week or two before they are in if they arrive on time.”
Chan mindlessly squeezes at your plush skin while Minho talks his thoughts seemingly moving a hundred miles a minute, “So what do I do? It should be hitting me sometime within the next month.” 
As Chan speaks you gently try to pry his hands off of you as you move to the stove, instead his arms stay wrapped around you and he moves as if he is permanently attached to your body. You stir the food in the pan and nod to yourself at its completion, before turning both your body and Chan’s back towards Minho. 
“Well, neither of you are going to like this answer, but Chan,” their eyes lock on one another, “you are going to have to stay locked in your room until it passes. It will be up to you to do whatever it is that you need to in order to stay away from her.”
Chan’s grip on you tightens, almost to the point of hurting, “Understood,” is all he says as he releases your body. He swallows thickly as his eyes trail to the red marks where his fingers were. Taking a deep breath a feeling of anger sets in and he brushes past Minho, his aggression showing as he purposefully knocks his shoulder against Minho’s making his way back into the living room. 
You watch after him, with a worried expression before locking eyes with Minho’s, “Is there anything I can do to make it easier for him?” 
“Stay away from him,” Minho says coldly before making his way to the front door. You follow after him. 
“I’ll come back when I get the medication,” he says to you, opening the front door before turning towards Chan who is once again back on the couch looking at a black tv screen, “And you should learn to watch yourself,” Minho snaps, closing the door behind him. 
Chan snarls, “What’s his fucking problem, eh?” 
You sigh, “Let’s just eat, mkay?” 
Chan gets up and once again follows you into the kitchen. 
It’s your ovulation that sends him into heat two days after the conversation with Minho. Well, that and the soft whimpers he can hear you making in your sleep. Even though he is in a separate room his hearing makes it seem as though you are laying right beside him. 
The smell of you is intoxicating even from this distance, he can’t begin to imagine what it would be like if he were pressed up against you. That thought alone has him slipping into a heat-induced madness. Before he loses all control he pries himself out of bed and locks his door. Your moans come and go, but your smell never fades and neither do his thoughts of you and your soft body. By morning he is already absolutely feral. At some point in his haze, he texted you that he was in heat, however, by the sound of your footsteps nearing his door it seemed as though you had yet to see that message. Or maybe it was the small groans of pain he was letting slip past his lips as your smell got stronger, that made you worry and feel the need to go check on him. 
Three gentle knocks wrapped against the door, but the smell of vanilla and chai that you produced all but body-slammed him into recklessness, “Chan are you alright?” You called through the door. Instead of an answer, you were met with a pained groan. 
“Chris?” you called out. You only ever called him this if you were worried, but the sound of his real name coming out of your mouth had his watering. 
“Fuck, y/n, go away, this is already hard enough without you standing right outside the damn door,” he barked. 
After a moment of silence and contemplation on your part, you exhaled and ignored everything Minho had ever told you, “I-i know it hurts really bad, I can help you if you want me to,” your face flushed, “you can use me if need to.” 
Chan through his head back against the pillow, a low moan leaving his throat, his brown hair clinging to his sweat-dampened forehead, “Y/n, you can’t just say shit like that. I will rip the door off its hinges.” 
Chan listens as your footsteps fade away and then return before he can react properly you have the door unlocked. He shoots up in bed and stares wide-eyed as you step gingerly into the room. Quickly you set the key on top of the dresser by the entrance and close the door behind you. Chan’s eyes are a deep red colour you’ve never seen before, the veins in his arms pop out wildly from the strength with which he is gripping the bed sheets. 
“Y/n please,” he voice deeper than normal, it comes out in a cross between begging and growling, “please get out before I do something I can’t take back.” His eyes trail up your body, taking in how your thick thighs press against one another and how your big t-shirt barely covers your most sacred areas. 
Instead of leaving, you take a step towards the bed, Chan’s strong stare has you trembling. For the first time ever, you feel like prey, “Please Chris, let me help you.” 
“Y/n, I’m warning you one last time, if you get any closer to me I’m going to absolutely destroy you,” his threat half-hearted as he struggles more and more, working hard to fight back his lust. 
You walk to the edge of the bed, “I’ll do whatever I can to help.” 
Chan takes a deep breath and almost chokes. Your scent immediately clouds his brain, his sanity slipping away, his heat almost debilitating. Quickly he gets out of bed and comes to stand behind you. His arms wrap around your body just like they did two days ago in the kitchen, except for this time his grip is instantly harsh and his head doesn’t rest on top of yours, but instead makes a home in the crook of your neck. You shudder at the feeling of his tongue running up the side of your neck as you tilt it further to the side to give more access. 
“Chris,” your whimper comes out quietly and against your will. His reaction is to pull you closer to him, his hardness grinding against your ass, as he digs his fangs into your neck without hesitation. 
“Y/N, I’m going to mark you,” he begins as soon as his canines leave your neck, “then I’m going to breed you, and then I’m going to give you my knot. You’ll take it all, won’t you,” he laps at the puncture wounds on your neck and your groan, “You’ll take it like a good girl?”
You nod nervously and he chuckles darkly, “C’mon, baby girl, I need to hear words.”
 “Yes alpha,” you mumble and almost facepalm. You don’t know what compelled you to call him that, but before you can dwell on it too much, you are snatched from your thoughts by a low growl. 
Chris turns you around quickly, his eyes darker than before, “What did you just call me?” 
“A-alpha,” you stutter out before you feel your head forcibly snapping back as Chan grabs a fistful of your hair and yanks it, exposing your neck. 
“You are playing with fire, human,” he snarls in your ear, before attacking the expanse of your neck with rough, wet kisses. He sucks harshly on your tan skin and when he finds your sweet spot, you let out a soft mewl. He hums before latching his lips back onto the same spot, relishing in how your breath hitches. 
His hand drops from your hair and trails down the backside of your body until he reaches your ass. Chan instantly begins kneading the flesh roughly.
“God y/n,” he murmurs teasingly, “I can smell how aroused you are and all these little sounds you’re making? You’re going to make me absolutely destroy you.” All you could do was push against him and whimper. 
He mumbled something about you wearing too many clothes before pulling your shirt over your head and exposing your breasts. He all but drooled as he looked at them, “They are already so big, I can’t wait to see them grow even more,” he took one in each of his hands, massaging them roughly loving how the flesh spilt out around his fingers, “can’t wait to suck the milk from them, as you get ready to nurse our pups.” 
Your face flushed at his lewd words, but all of your thoughts became fuzzy as he wrapped his lips around your right nipple, his fingers pinching the left one. A loud moan left your lips as Chan’s tongue lapped at the erect bud before switching to the left. Your hands found purchase in his hair and he growled softly as you pulled at it, “Alpha please,” you begged. 
He pulled away and stood back up to his full height. Despite having had known he towered over you, this time when his frame dwarfed yours, you shivered. The height difference making your core clench around nothing. Chris put his hand on your head, “Knees,” he commanded. He watched as you sunk quickly to the floor. Without him saying anything, you got to work. You quickly pulled down his sweatpants and boxers in one go, watching his hard cock smack against the area right below his below button. Not only was he well-endowed lengthwise, but the girth was also incredibly thick. You swallow heavily, grabbing him in your hands and wrapping your lips around his tip. Chan groaned and let his hands tangle in your hair. He tried to wait patiently as you inched your mouth further and further down his hardened length but found the wait to be too painful. His grip on your hair tightened and he shoved your head roughly down his length. As his tip hit the back of your throat you gagged roughly, but all he did was moan out at the feeling. Tears prickled at the back of your eyes as he moved your head back and forth on his length. They were soon spilling out as you were once again forced to take his entirety into your mouth. Your nose pressed against his crotch as his tip just sat in the back of your throat. When he looked down at you, your tear-soaked face and innocent eyes almost sent him spilling down your throat. 
“Y/n,” his voice strained, “you look so pretty like this,” he bucked his hips and you gagged, “fuck just look at you. I can just smell how much you like this. You like being used, hmm, baby girl?” 
You moaned around his cock and the vibrations sent him over the edge. His hot cum spilt down the back of your throat and despite your struggling and small gags he held your head still until he was emptied completely. Once he pulled out of your mouth, you gasped for air, grateful for how it burnt in your lungs. Chris bent down, cupped your round face in his hand and lifted your head so that he could look at your face. He smirked at how you still looked at him so sweetly, swiping his thumb by the side of your mouth, wiping up some cum that had spilt out. He shoved his thumb into your mouth and you closed your eyes and you sucked on it thoughtfully. 
“Such a dirty fucking girl,” he groaned, “C’mon stand up baby.” He stepped back and helped you to your feet. You didn’t realise how much your knees hurt until you were standing normally again. Chan grabbed at your love handles and you furrowed your brows, pulling away out of reflex. His eyes widened in slight anger and confusion at your disobedience. He grabbed you tighter, pulling you into his fit frame, “What the fuck was that, hmm?” 
You looked away, embarrassed, “Nothing, just keep going,” you answered. 
His eyebrows knit together as he unlatched one of his hands and roughly gripped your face, “No, human, tell me. Do you not like it when I touch you like that?” 
“I’m just a bit self conscious about it alright?” When you looked up at him, you noticed the shock in his eyes. 
“You don’t like your body?” he asked stupidly. The thought of you not liking how you looked angered him. How could you not like your body? He could barely keep his hands off of it normally and in a moment like this, he just wanted to ravage every inch of your ample flesh. His grasp on you lightened into cascading touches as he looked down at your mostly naked body. He ran his rough fingers from your love handles, down your plump belly, and around the fat the hungover your panties. His breathing unsteady and his cock hard all over again. 
“Baby girl, I will show you how much I love this body of yours another time, but right now I’m going to break you. Don’t fight back,” was the last warning he gave you. Despite you knowing you were heavy, he lifted you with ease and laid you on the bed.  You watched him wide-eyed as he kissed down your stomach and to your core. He ripped your underwear from your body and you yelped at the feeling of fabric snapping. Chan ran his tongue through your heat and to your clit, sucking on it harshly. Your back arching off the bed as he absolutely devoured you. His mouth leaving your clit only for his tongue to push into you, lapping at up your juices. The lewd sounds turning you on much more than you felt they should. One of his large hands pushing your hips down, the other rubbing rigorous circles on your sensitive bundle of nerves. You went from being close to being thrown over the edge as he put his mouth back on your clit. Though it seemed like 8 hours of pleasure, it was nothing more than 5 minutes. 
“Jesus Christ, baby girl, you were much needier than I thought. It’s cute how easy you are,” he said darkly. The mocking made you want to cover your face, but when you tried to, you were cut off by the feeling of two of his fingers being shoved into your dripping core. You let out a silently scream, your hands grabbing roughly at the bed sheets, “Wow, what a fucking slut. You just came and already your pussy is clenching around my fingers.” 
You moaned out as his fingers curled against your g-spot and Chan chuckled, “You like it right there baby,” he questioned as his fingers moved impossibly fast, “what if I spread you open with another finger? You want that? You gonna take another finger like the good little slut you are?” 
“Yes alpha!” you choked out and so he did add a third finger which had your body shaking. 
“You’re squeezing my fingers so tight baby, fuck,” he murmured, “are you gonna come again? Already?” He didn’t have to wait long for his answer, except this time you were both surprised as you squirted all over his fingers, hand, forearm, and bed. The moan you let out more like a cry and it left Chan’s cock twitching. 
“What a filthy fucking bitch,” he groaned and you twitched around nothing. He gave you almost no time at all to calm down before he was positioning himself between your fleshy thighs and pressing himself into you. 
You watched his face as he threw his head back and let out a slow, deep moan. When he looked back at you, his eyes went from their deep dark brown/black to a deep red, and you shivered. 
His thrusts were slow and hard, “You’re, fuck, you’re tight little cunt is gripping on to me so tightly. You’re taking me so well. The perfect bitch, all for myself,” he groaned, “I really have been too nice to you tonight and I can’t keep it up when you’re grabbing onto me like that and moaning so loudly. Your alpha is going to breed you now, so be a good bitch and take it, mkay baby girl?” 
‘Y-yes alpha, I’ll be a good bitch and take it,” you mumbled back in response. Your fucked out face, the way your eyes rolled back as he hit a particularly good spot, the way your body jiggled with each thrust, all of it had him pushing your legs up to your chest and rutting into you with more vigor than before.  You had never had anyone so big or long and the way he reached untouched places, had you moaning out crudely. 
“M-more alpha,” you begged and he smirked, pulling out of you causing you to whine at the emptiness. 
“Rollover, hands and knees,” he commanded and you did as you were told. As soon as you were stable he had your head shoved into the pillows and his cock buried inside of you. You were drooling as his tip hit your cervix and he was mesmerized by how easily he slipped in and out of you. Loving how your ass bounced as he fucked into you, his hand came down against your ass and you clenched around him, letting out a moan that almost made him lose his mind. 
“What a dirty bitch, you really like it rough huh?” 
“Yes alpha, more please,” you blubbered, surprised you could even form coherent words. His hand came across your ass again and this time when you clenched around him he growled.  His right hand gripping your hip hard enough to bruise, his left hand grabbing your hair and pulling your top half off the bed. 
“Your dirty fucking cunt keeps clenching around me baby girl, are you going to cum around my cock?” the new angle had you seeing stars, “Maybe you’ll squirt all over it too… You’re just so fucking filthy.” His hand dropped from hair to wrap around your throat, squeezing tightly.
Chan’s ears twitched and he let out a chuckle, “I was only choking you to keep you quiet, but by the way you’re wrapping around me I see that you don’t mind at all. Tsk tsk, maybe I should just let him come watch as I breed you,” he rasped in your ear. 
Before you could even comprehend any of it, you heard the front door close and Minho’s voice “Y/n, where are you? I know you don’t have class until 2! I was able to convince my boss to let me grab a heat suppressant from work today!” 
Chan steadily fucked into you, his grip on your throat fluctuating in strength, but as Minho talked and Chan buried himself in you over and over again, you couldn’t help the way your mind wandered and it seemed like Chan knew you too well. 
“Are you thinking about him seeing you like this? Seeing you drooling all over yourself as I fuck into you? Maybe I should tell him we’re in here so he can see you being used like the whore you are, would you like that” he whispered harshly in your ear, “Well, go ahead baby, let him know who it is that’s fucking you so good.” 
With that, he let go of your throat and pushed your body back down again, before setting in at a brutal pace. Your moans quickly began getting harder and harder to hold back, but you really lost it when he snaked his arm around your body and pressed two fingers against your clit. His cock hitting you so deeply, combined with the harsh circles he was rubbing on your tight bundle of nerves had you coming almost instantly. 
“Fuck alpha please!” You screamed out and he kept up his actions. The over-stimulation setting in much too quickly. Chan heard Minho’s footsteps stop in front of his door and for some reason the fact that Minho was stood there listening only fueled him more. His length became too much to handle, but he didn’t care, ramming into you over and over again chasing his own high. You tried to pull away, but that only resulted in him pulling you back roughly onto his throbbing length. 
“Chris please,” you sobbed.
“Shut up and take it like a good little bitch,” he groaned out his voice animalistic, “You were the one who said you wanted to help. So now I’m going to breed you and you’re gonna take my cock like the obedient whore I know you are.” 
Though his words were harsh, you couldn’t help but convulse around him. Soon his thrusts got sloppy and before you knew it, he was pushed further into you than you thought possible, his member swelling up inside you and attaching to your cervix as his paints your walls white. You scream out in pain at the stretch and for the first time that night, Chan is gentle with you. His lips leave soft kisses on your shoulders and he caresses your body gently. 
“You’re doin’ so good princess. You did so well.” He whispers against your skin as he does his best to roll you both on your sides so that he is spooning you. You eventually get used to the feeling and finally decide to speak, “What was that and how long are we going to be like this?” Your voice came out softly, though unintentional. 
“I don’t know princess, but it’s gonna be a while,” he replies, he goes to continue speaking but stops. His ears twitch once more at the sound of Minho’s soft footsteps and the sound of the front door closing ever so carefully. Chan fights back his shit-eating grin, “You did really well for me, y/n, but tell me… Why did you decide to call me alpha?” 
Your face instantly heats itself, “I don’t know, it just felt right,” you mutter. 
Chris’ hand gently rubs at your belly, “You know, I wasn’t kidding about the breeding stuff.” 
You sigh, “Yea I gathered that when you came inside of me.” 
“I’m sorry,” he sighed, “I should have been more careful with you and I should have asked you first. I know the senior year of college is really important and I am fucking up everything.” 
“You’re lucky that midterms end in a week.” though your voice is soft, your tone is not and it causes his ears to press flat against his head, “but you’re also lucky that I love you, Chris.”
Now it is his turn to blush, never did he think you would actually love him as he loves you, “Y/n I love you too. I’ll do whatever I have to do to be a good man for you and any kids we do have. You’re gonna be such a great mom and you’re all mine and wow-”
You cut him off, “Chris you haven’t even asked me out yet, it isn’t like we are getting married tomorrow and we don’t know for sure that I’ll be pregnant from this.” 
“Oh,” his breath was now fanning over your ear, making you shiver, “I thought that you knew our standing since I let you call me alpha, human. Also, I’ve never had a knot so intense before, I don’t think there is much worry about if you’re pregnant. You should be worried about the names for each of them.”
“E-each of them?!” 
“Yea. I think you’re gonna have two and if you only have one, I’ll just have to fuck a second one into you.” 
“Bang Chan!” 
He chuckles and pulls you into his body, squeezing your flesh, “But once you’ve recovered and I am done knotting you, don’t think I forgot about my promise to show you how much I love your body.” 
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98prilla · a year ago
The silence was tense and awkward as Patton sat beside Virgil at the kitchen table, across from Remy, who’s posture was carefully loose and carefree. He occasionally caught a flicker of Remy’s eyes looking at him from over his dark glasses, and Virgil was still squeezing his hand. He could feel the nervous, angry energy radiating from Virgil, and the longer the silence the more tense it got, until he couldn’t take it anymore.
 “So… you know Virgil, huh?” He asked. Wrong thing to say. Virgil tensed, and Remy frowned, before it slid into a smirk.
 “Oh babes, that’s funny. So you haven’t told them about us, hmm?”
 “Shut up.” Virgil muttered warningly, only causing Remy’s smirk to grow, something hard in his eyes.
 “So what do they know, Virg? Have you told them that you’re An-“
 “SHUT UP, REMY!” Virgil yelled, slamming his hands on the table and jumping out of his chair so fast it toppled over, eyes burning.
 “Guess that answers that question. Imma take it as ‘no’?” Remy asked, sickly sweet, leaning back so his chair was balanced on the two back legs, feet on the table as he raised a brow, sipping his drink.
 “That isn’t who I am, anymore. It isn’t who I ever wanted to be. It’s what Janus made of me.” Virgil growled, and Remy scoffed.
 “Please. How long has it been, since you used any magic? Seven, eight years now?”
 “So, how do you think I found you, when you’ve been ever so careful not to leave a trace? You made a pact, you made a bond, and no matter how far you run or how well you hide, there’s no out. You’re bound to me, and to him, no matter how much you wanna pretend otherwise.” Remy replied.
 Patton gasped as Remy waved his hand, revealing a faint, glowing violet thread that reached from around Virgil’s right wrist to Remy’s, another thread extending from his left wrist and out through the walls. Remy had another thread leading away as well, both of them golden, though Virgil’s glowed much fainter, much thinner, than Remy’s. Patton looked down at himself, surprised to find a nearly clear string attached to his own wrist, though it hung limply, clearly not active. Virgil snapped and the glowing threads vanished, leaving him glowering down at Remy.
“Then go find him! Clearly you and your magical prowess should have no trouble finding the snake in the grass. Just be careful where you step and you’ll be fine!” Remy hissed out a breath, getting to his feet as well, anger flashing across his face for the first time.
 “Were you not listening, or are you just that much of a stupid bitch? He got taken. He’s probably in their nest right now, meaning It’d be suicide for me to go in alone after him, not to mention if they’ve thralled or turned him by now! So unless you want Janus to become like It-“ Remy gestured to Patton, who flinched back, and Virgil growled, lightning flashing in his eyes and crackling across his palms.
 “One more word, Remy, I dare you to say one single more word-“ Startling blue flared to life in Remy’s eyes as he set aside his drink, stepping forwards. Virgil stood firm, refusing to move, refusing to let Remy get between himself and Patton.
 “What happened to you, Virg? You used to be strong. Now you won’t even let me do our job.”
 “He’s not a job, he’s a person. Not everything that’s different is a monster, Remy. If you haven’t figured that out yet you need to grow the fuck up, and step the fuck back. You’re in my house, Sleep.” Remy’s eyes flickered under his glasses, about to say something else, stopped by the sound of the door opening.
 “We’re baaaack! Miss us, heart attack tonight and sweet fang?” Virgil stepped back, letting out a small, relieved sigh. He needed the others, he couldn’t do this right now, he couldn’t handle Remy, right now.
 “Roman, surely that was a little ‘much’, perhaps they were still sleeping.”
 “Then they have been woken by my dulcet tones.” Virgil huffed, rolling his eyes.
 “In the kitchen. With a little situation.” Instantly, Roman sprinted into the room, managing to smooth over his obvious panic when he saw everyone ok, doing a slight double take at the stranger at the table.
 “What is this situation?” Logan asked, much calmer, stepping out from behind Roman, though his eagle sharp gaze never strayed from Remy, seemingly burning into his soul.
 “He’s the situation.”
 “He seems to not be causing any immediate harm.” Virgil scowled at Logan’s words.
 “That’s the problem. You don’t see him coming, then he explodes when your back is turned.”
 “Me? Oh, that’s a laugh and a half.” Virgil flinched, taking a step back. He could remember a dozen times he’d heard that phrase, a dozen times it was said in jest, in frustration, in sarcasm. “You’re the one who turned your back on us. You’re the one who left us to deal with the fallout. You’re the one who wasn’t there so Jan got taken!”
 “THAT WASN’T MY FAULT! You always go poking your nose places it doesn’t belong, you always leap before you look, you never consider the consequences of your actions, you and him both always think you know best, when you don’t know anything at all!” Virgil shouted back, fists clenched at his sides.
 “That’s why you are the third member, to keep us from getting into this mess!”
 “Don’t put this on me! You never listened when I was there! You never bothered to actually care about me! Janus just cared about my power, and you just cared about his approval, and neither one of you cared if what you were doing was right!” Remy let out a harsh laugh, throwing his glasses aside as he rubbed his face.
 “Oh, you are unbelievable! He took you in, he saved you, he taught you everything you know, and you think he didn’t care? You think I didn’t care? You think it didn’t hurt, watching you walk away from everything we’d built? Why do you think we never filled your spot? Because Janus was still waiting for you to pull your head out of your ass and come home!”
 “I am home. So you can either accept that and stop berating me and my choices and my family, or you can leave.” Remy snatched his glasses, nearly crushing them in his fist, a wicked smile on his face, that had Virgil’s stomach sinking and a chill running up his spine.
 “Fine. When you change your mind, you know where to find me. You can change your name all you want, Virgil, but that doesn’t change who you are. You know as well as I do, that you’ll always be part of this coven. You’ll always be Anxiety.” Remy vanished in a puff of smoke, and Virgil stared dumbly where he’d just been standing for a few long moments, before he pressed a hand over his mouth, breath speeding in and out, heart rate racing.
Anxiety. The name echoed in his ears, something he’d tried to forget, someone he’d tried so hard to pretend he’d never been, someone who had been terrible and awful and cruel, someone who would have killed Patton on the spot had they met, regardless of his cheery smile or bubbly personality, regardless of the fact that he was an ethical vampire, regardless of the fact that he had people at home who loved him.
 Anxiety wouldn’t have hesitated. Anxiety had done it before, after all, dozens of times. Vampires, werewolves, wraiths, anything non-human was fair game, no matter how well integrated into human society they were, they had still been a threat, a ticking time bomb waiting to blow, and needed to be disarmed before they could do damage.
 Anxiety had been saved from the streets when he was a child by Deceit. Adopted into his home, raised with Sleep as an older brother, quickly becoming part of their Coven. He’d excelled at magic, a quick, fast learner. Sleep, his ability to control dreams, to get into people’s minds as they slept and poke around, to hypnotize and trance beings into submission, finding weaknesses and information. Deceit, with his ability to twist lies into truth, to trap people under his siren spell of words, until you would do whatever he said, even if it meant slitting your own throat. Anxiety, his power to move unseen through the shadows, to slip between them and use them, to make his enemies’ fears come to life before their eyes.
 Anxiety had been molded, raised, used, by Deceit. He knew this now, he recognized the brainwashing, all the small lies that Deceit had instilled into him, he’d spent years trying to parse out the truth, trying to get that voice out of his head, until only his own was left, he’d spent so much time trying so hard to trust the others, because Deceit was always there, whispering that he was better off alone, whispering that he wasn’t worth their time, whispering how could anyone love you? If only they knew what you’d done, they would never have let you in.
 Anxiety had worked so hard to stop being Anxiety, and to just be Virgil. And now, now it was all crumbling down. Because their coven had a reputation. No one had known their identities, no one still did, outside of the three of them, but everyone knew and feared the trio of monster slayers, whispered about them in the night, afraid their words would summon the coven to their door, everyone knew the stories, the speed and brutality with which they dispatched their kills, the count higher every day.
 He’d heard the rumors start, after he left, that someone had finally gotten the upper hand, finally slain the shadow Anxiety, and he let them think it. He didn’t care, it was true, in a way, Anxiety was dead, but not at a monster’s hands. He’d been killed by himself, the moment he’d stepped out that door and ran, not looking back. The moment he’d sworn not to use his magic ever again, so they couldn’t trace him, so they couldn’t call on him, so they couldn’t summon him and use him.
 It had worked. The bond was still there, would always be there, but Remy hadn’t been able to summon him. Hadn’t been able to call on their bond to force him to help, it was weak, though his use of magic this morning had no doubt given it a little bit of life, not enough to matter. He wouldn’t feed that bond, he wouldn’t give it any strength, he wouldn’t let it get there. He couldn’t.
 But they wouldn’t want him anymore. Not now that knew what he was, the monster, he was, not when Pat was a vampire, and they would expect him to snap any moment like a spring coiled too tight, not when there was so much innocent blood on his hands, not when he could be used to find them, to follow them, not if Remy was insistent and kept coming around, not if Remy found Janus-
 His stomach flopped at the very idea of seeing him again, of being face to face with him, of his honey sweet words infecting his mind, and he nearly retched at the thought of Janus spinning those lies against the others, driving them all insane. He couldn’t watch that happen, he couldn’t withstand that voice, he would crumble, instantly crumble, and all of the work he’d done wouldn’t mean a thing, because the second those shining gold eyes met his he’d be lost.
 And if he couldn’t stand against Janus, then Patton-
 So what, if Janus was taken? Maybe he was getting a taste of his own medicine. Maybe Remy was better off without him, with time, his mind would clear and he’d see how they did more harm than good, maybe everything would be fine.  That’s what Anxiety would have done, after all, stood back and watched. Even if Janus was only thralled, that was still a threat to the group’s security, the vampire could use that bond against them, so there would be no coming back even if they rescued him, unless they killed whatever vampire had used him. Which they would, of course, solving that problem.
 He was considering this. Gods, he was actually considering this, why was he actually considering this, why did he even give a shit, after everything, why did he still care?
 “virgil?” Patton’s voice, small and hesitant, reached through the fog of panic clouding his mind, though he flinched away from Patton’s touch. His heart was pounding out of his chest, and he couldn’t look up, couldn’t see their faces, would stave off the rejection and fear and horror as long as he could. He could feel the sob building in his throat, and he needed to leave, he needed to go, he needed to be anywhere else when he fell apart, because they shouldn’t be obligated to comfort him, when they were just going to kick him out later anyway. He could hear ringing in his ears, could feel something wet on his face, but it was distant and wrong and he needed out, he was backed into a corner and he needed out.
 So he did what he always did best. He ran.
 He shoved past the others, sprinting down the hall, slamming the door shut and locking it, before scrambling back, eyes darting wildly for somewhere to hide, because this was too open and his mind was screaming ‘danger, not safe,’ when his gaze locked on the closet. He pulled open the sliding door, shoving it closed behind him as he sunk to the ground in the deepest, darkest corner, finally letting a muffled sob tear from his lungs as he curled into himself.
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cthulhuofficial · a year ago
Guardians II Chapter 1 First Draft COMPLETE
Colunda Prime was, by many accounts, a backwater, no-account slum of a planet on the Outer Rim, little more than a small colony of humans scratching out a paltry living in its unfriendly soil. The authors of those same accounts, thought Con, must be birthing banthas right now. Crowds milled in front of the platform awaiting the speech, their chatter loud and excited; though they did not quite fill the square of the Senate District, their numbers had grown at least threefold in the last few months, and Con noted a number of Senators seated behind the podium on the platform. The woman they were there to see was Senator Olan Gallo of Colunda Prime. Gallo had recently been propelled from the relative anonymity of an Outer Rim Senator to widespread fame - or notoriety, depending on who you asked - due to her outspoken pro-war views. A year ago, the battle-ravaged Republic, after five centuries of bloody conflict with the Sith, was ready to embrace peace. The victories of King’s Galquek, Corphelion, and Gap Nine were fresh in the minds of the people, and war was expensive in more than one way. A year ago, Olan Gallo had been the de facto leader of a small minority of mainly Outer Rim Senators consistently but futilely voting against demilitarization. She was dismissively dubbed the "war hawk" by the few of her opponents who deigned to acknowledge her. A year ago. “War hawk! War hawk! War hawk!” the chanting began in the square: Gallo had appeared on the platform. The disdainful nickname had become a powerful rallying cry for her supporters over the last year. Another reason for those who had underestimated her to regret their decision. “Dialo Cenew, age 21,” she began. The crowd quieted at the sound of her voice. “Alath Lotar, age 32. Hector Orrinsen, age 12.” She held aloft a data pad. “Missing persons from the Outer Rim territories. Almost 1100 names over the last eight months. Camna Moden, age 31. Seabu Sm’for, age 56. Derra Javal, age nine,” she growled through her teeth. “There is a problem in the Outer Rim and the Senate is closing its eyes to it." Gallo’s words drove the crowd into a frenzy, and Con drew himself inward, listening to the sound of his breath, to maintain his focus. He was not here for the rousing speech or the politics; the Jedi Order must remain aloof from the in-fighting and debates of the Senate. Con was here to prevent Senator Olan Gallo's assassination. His master had forbidden him from coming. Con recalled their conversation from this morning. “But I saw -“ Con repeated for what felt like the twelfth time. “I know what you saw, and I know you want to help,” Master Daymar Jerikho said, also for the twelfth time. “You have an incredible talent, but you should not trust too much in these visions and prophecies.” “Then what am I supposed to do? Just let it happen?” “I will send someone to the rally to keep an eye out for an attack - someone else,” he emphasized as Con began to speak again. Jerikho sighed. “I know you feel like I’m mistrusting your judgment or that I’m holding you back, but try to understand where I’m coming from. There are some things you only learn from experience, and I’ve taken quite a few knocks. No matter how talented you are, you’re still my padawan and I would be failing you as a master if I don’t try to spare you as many knocks as I can,” he said, gently pushing Con’s head to the side. “I do trust you, but trust goes both ways.” “The Living Force transcends time as we experience it - your vision could have been subverted because someone took a different turn to work this morning. It may happen ten years in the future, or even a hundred. Prophecy is fickle, Con, and takes many forms." “Yes, master,” Con had said. Yet that night, he was wrenched from sleep by a nightmare in which his dream self knew of a great and terrible threat to the Senate, yet his limbs would not move faster than a Hutt’s pace. He feigned illness during his meditation training and escaped the Jedi Temple in a borrowed robe, making for Faddo Square, where he had seen the bombing in his dreams. “The Senators from Hosnian Prime and Duro claim they desire a return to peace!” Gallo was saying. "What they truly desire is a return to the status quo. Peace is not the same as coming home from war! What the Core Worlds Senators desire is normalcy - they desire their five-year plans, their security, their routines, their comforts… their stock portfolios’ reliability,” she added with a quirked eyebrow. Gallo was charismatic; she had to be, to have turned the ear of enough of Coruscant to grow the Republic pro-war faction from a powerless splinter group into a fast-growing political movement. Charismatic leaders attracted followers and prestige, but they also inevitably attracted powerful enemies; Con wondered who was behind the coming attack. Gallo had enemies aplenty in the Senate itself - assassinations were rare, but could her fiery words and growing support have driven her opponents to desperation? There were business owners who stood to gain a fortune once the war ended and the rebuilding started; if the Senator had her way, they would have to continue to outlast the war. And, of course, there were the Sith themselves - if Senator Gallo was correct, they were still at large, though badly beaten, and would likely appreciate the chance to lick their wounds. “Peace - true, long-lasting peace - is not convenient! Peace is not as simple as laying down one’s weapons! Peace is costly, peace requires sacrifice! And that is why the Core Worlds Senators cry peace and cry peace from the safety of the Senate floor, yet there is no peace and it is the Outer Rim planets that suffer. It is Dialo Cenew and Camna Moden and Derra Javal who disappear to become slaves to the defeated Sith Empire.” She weighted the word heavily with sarcasm. “This war is not over, no matter how much Senator Porro wishes it were so.” Con felt the vibrations in the Force milliseconds before the explosion happened. His hand flew out, sifting through the strands of the Force until he found the ones stretched taut and hot with energy… and grasped them in his fist. With a sound like thunder, the podium burst into shards of polished wood and stone, sending shrapnel flying in a deadly radius. A spar buried itself in the floor where Senator Gallo had been standing a moment before Con Pushed her with the Force to the back of the platform. The other fragments that would have showered the crowd, the fire that would have billowed forth like a pennant, were instead contained inside a transparent bubble of Force, the tendrils of which Con felt in his hands. Everyone was staring at him, he realized suddenly. The crowd had edged several feet away from him, as though he were in an invisible bubble himself. His hands were still extended in front of him holding the shape of his Force bubble. He loosened his grip, and the bubble on the stage gentle leaked the force of the explosion, until the chips and pieces of the podium clattered on the ground, harmless; when he released it, all that issued forth was a wisp of smoke. Senator Gallo recovered herself first. “I owe you my life, sir. May I know your name?”It should have been Con’s moment of triumph, but all he could think about was his master’s disappointment if he learned that Con had disobeyed his orders. Hoping against all logic that the Jedi Jerikho had sent to the rally had not seen him clearly, he pulled his hood lower over his face and turned to leave. The crowd parted before him. From behind him, he heard one person applauding, then another... and another and another, until the square rang with their approbation as Con stole away into the alleys of Coruscant.
After two days had passed, Con began to entertain tentative feelings of relief that he had not been caught. Master Jerikho had said nothing, and when Con had scrolled through one of the library data pads for news, headlines had merely touted a hooded figure that heroically saved Senator Olan Gallo from a terrible assassination attempt. After a week had passed, he was sure he was in the clear. After two weeks had passed, as he was sparring with his friends in between classes in the common gym area, he was summoned to the Jedi Council chamber. His friends hissed and teased him as he pulled his padawan’s robe over his training tunic and trousers. He couldn’t even summon the heart to jeer back, but silently followed the page out of the room. His pulse threatened to race and he felt his stomach clench. As quickly as he recognized the symptoms, he fell, almost by instinct at this point in his training, into a calming breathing exercise. Breathe in one two three, hold one two three, breathe out one two three, hold one two three, repeat. So it was with a controlled expression that he entered the airy chamber where the twelve chairs of the Jedi Council stood along the periphery of the circular room like sentinels. Inside the room, Con's semblance of calm fell away. Eight of the Jedi Council members were seated - a quorum, Con knew. Grandmaster Danla Bachi was among them, straight as a staff. Worse, Master Jerikho was there, standing calmly with his hands behind his back, waiting. So great was his shock that Con did not immediately notice the short creature standing next to Master Jerikho, but he had a difficult time not staring once he did. The creature had a draconic face with finlike ears and four fleshy tentacles dangling from its snout, each decorated with an onyx bead. Most curious, it stood not on its legs, but on two long arms, which supported its body and legs. Those legs, at the moment, were clasped across its torso in a gesture of deep composure. It was a Dug, Con recognized. A sentient race from the planet Malastare, Dugs were an uncommon enough sight on Coruscant, but he had never seen one in the Jedi Temple before. “Apprentice Del,” Grandmaster Bachi said, greeting him with a nod. “This is High Justicar August Mugaba,” she continued, recognizing the direction of Con’s gaze and indicating the Dug with a wrinkled hand. Con did not recognize the title, but the Dug was clad in the rough spun robe of a Jedi and a lightsaber hung at his belt; however, he had no time to consider the stranger. Bachi continued, “We are here to discuss your graduation to knighthood. Please come forward.” Con’s imagination came up with a startling number of hypothetical outcomes of this meeting, all terrible, during the few seconds it took him to walk to the center of the circle. He silenced the thoughts with the vague reassurance that, though the Grandmaster had not spoken of his graduation as certain, if he were being chastised for disobedience, he doubted that this was the tack she would take. “Before you injure yourself clenching your fists like a Jawa clutching an accu-accelerator, we know it was you who prevented Senator Gallo’s assassination,” began Bachi. She raised a hand as Con tensed. “It was no great feat of cleverness - Master Reinardt saw you at the rally. And Senator Gallo was so deeply grateful to her rescuer that she came herself to the temple to ask about a young Kel Dor Jedi matching your description.” She paused for a beat. "You will not be formally disciplined by the Council for your disobedience, although Master Jerikho may want words with you later.” Hard to say which one was worse, Con thought wryly. Grandmaster Bachi favored him with a knowing smile. “You have many supporters, Con Del, more than you know. Master Jerikho wholeheartedly supports your graduation. Senator Gallo is pushing for it, in the unsubtle way of politicians. The High Justicar, too, has taken a particular interest in your abilities. However, there are those on the Council who would hear what you have to say about your actions before they can join those noble personages in their confidence in you - how you could disobey a direct order from your master, how you could subject the Jedi Order to allegations of political favoritism, how you could risk your life and the lives of others on the promise of a krom-marr vision, one of the most notoriously misused and misinterpreted Force abilities in history.” Con felt each charge like a physical blow, and the accusations left him stumbling over his words. “How - how could I… How could I?” He wished he could look into his Master’s face and gain courage from the warmth that was always present in Jerikho's expression… but Jerikho was behind him. Besides, Con did not know how angry his master was with his actions, either. Con felt as alone as he had ever been, standing there before the inscrutable gaze of the Council. “How could I not!” he burst. He was grateful that his antiox mask and goggles concealed the depth of emotion in his voice and eyes, although all too aware of his pale orange skin deepening to crimson. “How could I know what would happen and do nothing? How is that the Jedi way, to allow the deaths of innocents instead of protecting them?” His voice lowered to a near murmur. “I didn’t think about the politics, I’m sorry, I didn’t think about the risks… I just knew I couldn't live with myself…” Con fell silent, unsure of what to say, feeling like he was playing a game and no one had told him the rules. Then the eight older Jedi exchanged glances, and Grandmaster Bachi’s keen eyes warmed. “The Council thanks you for your honesty, Padawan, and we are happy to be the first to congratulate you on your upcoming graduation. This session is dismissed.” Con let out a shaky breath as the council began to file out around him. He could sense his Master's unmoving presence still behind him. The final challenge, he thought. But when he turned around, Master Jerikho's eyes were full of pride.
Master Daymar Jerikho removed the cork from the bottle of Old Janx Spirit and spilled two generous pours of the golden liquid into the glasses he had taken from the dining hall. They were in the master’s chamber; Con felt flat after the council’s questioning and he sagged slightly in his chair, but Jerikho was exuberant. “I confiscated this bottle breaking up a slave ring on Ord Mantell. Such a remarkable liquor was wasted on that scum. This is a much more appropriate occasion!” The older human dropped a straw in one of the glasses, placed it on the table in front of Con, and seated himself with the other. “To you, my boy! Go on, it’s fine, drink, we’re celebrating!” They drank, Con’s face twisting as the fiery liquor snaked down his throat, Jerikho sighing contentedly. Con set his glass down and absently stirred the drink with his straw. “I - I don’t understand. I disobeyed you. And I sounded like a bumbling fool,” he said. “You sounded like you were a 16-year-old caught off guard, dragged in front of a bunch of Jedi masters, and drilled for answers. You sounded like yourself. If you hadn’t, the Council would have never approved of your graduation, no matter what I said.” “As for disobeying me,” Jerikho continued, seeing that Con had no intention of speaking, “do you think you’re the first apprentice to ever disobey his master? If the Jedi Order wanted a horde of automatons to order around, they would use clones or droids programmed to do their bidding,” he said, waving the idea away with his hand. He took another sip of his drink. "The worth of a Jedi is not in his obedience to any one individual, or even the council,  but in his obedience to his vows. The council knows this. You proved to them that you were not acting out of selfish ambition or political creed - you were acting on your oath.” “I was, I promise I was, Master! And I’m still sorry for disobeying you,” Con said, the tension and anxiety of keeping his secret for two weeks finally overcoming him, his voice breaking with emotion. Jerikho put his drink down and looked his padawan the eye. “I don’t agree with what you did, but I can’t fault you for why you did it. I’m proud that my padawan has become a man who thinks and acts for himself. That means I’ve been a good master.” He was thoughtful for a moment. "Only… keep in mind what I said about trusting too deeply in prophecy. But no more lectures tonight. Remember, you may be graduating, but I’ll always be here to lecture you,” he finished with a wink, setting his drink down. He turned his palm and a deck of sabacc cards appeared in his hand - a trick that Con had pleaded with Jerihko to teach him, but which Con could never master without the help of the Force. “How about a hand or two?” Con smiled for the first time in weeks.
The Jedi temple sanctuary was huge and airy, with ample light filtering through the stained transperisteel windows, yet Con felt a sense of mass in the room. On the floor was etched the winged crest of the Jedi Order, gleaming in red marble against white. Great statues, twenty times the height of a Kel Dor, were carved into the pale walls, likenesses of ancient Jedi Masters holding their stone lightsabers, forever guarding this most holy place. History weighed heavily here, and he noticed that he moved more slowly and quietly than usual, as though it were a physical presence. Centuries of Jedi initiates had been knighted in this room; now it was Con's turn. All twelve of the council members were here today, as was traditional at knightings, arranged in a semicircle around the sanctuary apse. Master Jerikho stood at Con’s right side. Con’s friends watched proudly from the nave, as well as a handful of younglings who had never seen a knighting ceremony before. And, curiously, in the farthest corner, August Mugaba crouched, legs crossed, staring balefully. “Kneel,” Grandmaster Bachi said. The warmth that usually softened her voice was gone, and the word reverberated in the temple. Con knelt, and began the vows he had practiced again and again in the privacy of his chamber. "I am one with the Force and the Force is with me. I will know emotion, and yet peace; ignorance, and yet knowledge; passion, and yet serenity; chaos, and yet harmony. I will use my abilities for good and turn always from the Dark Side. I will serve the Jedi Order and the Republic with my life here, and hereafter, for there is no death, only the Force. This I swear on my honor and the faith of the Order." Danla Bachi ignited her lightsaber; the light of the blade lit the hem of her robes and his face with an emerald glow.  She brought the blade down to hover above his left shoulder; the sound resounded in his ears, rattling his teeth. “Then by the right of the council,” she began, sweeping her blade over his head to hover at his right shoulder, "by the will of the Force, Con Del, rise, Jedi Knight.” The blade hissed and crackled as it disappeared into the hilt, and Grandmaster Bachi stepped back. Con rose and he could hear his friends begin to cheer and hoot. “May the Force be with you, Jedi Del,” the Grandmaster finished, and bowed before him.
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